Thursday, March 27, 2014

I think I have not changed a bit...

...since high school.

I was thinking about this because of the "Gotham" casting calls.

To back up a little, if you have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember the post wherein I described dragging my best friend through the process of trying out for the high school pom-pom girl squad, even though we had pretty much none of the qualifications for the job.  And, yes, she thought I was pretty crazy, but -- because she was such a nice best friend -- she went along with it.  And, no, we did not make the squad.  Such is life.

Anyway, back to the "Gotham" casting calls.

I have made a wonderful internet friend who runs "Ben McKenzie News."  If you do not know who Ben McKenzie is, then you have obviously not read my blog AT ALL.  Ben is a big star.  He is also a really nice guy.  I have this on good authority.  And he is headlining the upcoming TV show "Gotham."  "Gotham" is a Batman prequel series, and Ben is playing the main character -- Detective Gordon -- who will be the future Commissioner Gordon.

Anyway, the lovely lady who runs "Ben McKenzie News" has, naturally, been giving us daily updates on the filming of the pilot, which is happening, as we speak, in New York City.  It is all quite exciting.  Miss Pinelou, as I shall call her, posts BTS photos and videos, anecdotes, fan pictures, and -- of course -- casting calls.  And when she posts the casting calls, I always imagine which role or roles I would be good for, and I tell her.  And I ask her which role or roles she would want to play.

Now, for many of these roles, there are not a whole lot of requirements.  You might have to possess certain clothes or a certain type of vehicle or have a certain "look."  Some of the roles don't even require you to be a union member.  There have been casting calls for:  prostitutes, cab drivers, diner waitresses, women to drive American cars and trucks back and forth on the street, drummers, funeral-goers, Asian pedestrians, and burlesque dancers. 

This is all very tempting to me.  And I realize that -- were I in NYC -- I would totally be showing up for at least some of these casting calls.  And I would be dragging my lovely friend, Miss Pinelou, along with me.  She would probably be hesitant -- at least at first -- but I would prevail.  Just like I did with my best friend in high school.  Miss Pinelou is from Japan, and one of the casting calls was for Asian people to play pedestrians.  She would be a shoe-in for that one.  I would want to play a prostitute, because it would be fun to wear a tight little outfit after all the dieting efforts I have been putting forth over the past couple of months.  It might also be fun to be a diner waitress.  I think I am earthy-looking enough to be a diner waitress, and it would be a total hoot to call Detective Gordon "hun."  As in, "What'll ya have, hun?" I'd say this as I stood there jauntily, with a coffee pot in one hand and my other hand on my hip.  Miss Pinelou and I would also be quite adept at driving the American cars up and down the street, or standing solemnly at the funeral of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne.  Of course, the casting call said that you had to have upscale funeral clothes for the funeral scene, and I don't really have anything like that.  But, I'll bet Miss Pinelou does.  And my daughter Bridget does, so she could come along, too. 


So, you see, I have not changed -- not one bit -- since high school.  And, I admit, this distresses me a little bit.  But, it also makes me more than a little bit happy inside. ;-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Lent Blog Post (Gag...)

I hate Lent blog posts.

For no good reason, except for the fact that they drive me crazy.

There are just WAY too many of them, filled with WAY too much advice.

And I end up getting all anxious.

Because I'm really not very good at Lent, at least in the way most "serious" Catholics think you should be good at Lent.

Because I am basically a wimpy candy-ass.

But, here I am, writing Lent blog post.



When I was a little girl, I really loved Lent.

I went to Catholic school and we went to church and got ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Which was really fun, because afterwards, all us kids would compare ash marks.  We would talk about which priests gave the best ones and which priests got the ashes in your eyes and whose looked the most like crosses and whose would last the longest.  Us kids would also talk all about what we were giving up for Lent.  Some of us gave up chocolate and some of us gave up chewing gum and some of us gave up swearing and some of us gave up our favorite TV show.  I never gave up my favorite TV show, because for most of my childhood, it was "Emergency." And there was no friggin' way I was giving up "Emergency" for Lent.  I usually gave up chocolate.  On Fridays, all us Catholic school kids would compare lunches and see what meatless items our mothers has packed away for us.  Most of the kids had the usual -- peanut butter and jelly on Wonder Bread and tuna on wheat.  But, my mother, being who she was, would often pack such sandwich delicacies as deviled egg mixed with chopped olive or deviled egg mixed with canned shrimp.  These creations would inevitably result in various expressions of disgust from my Catholic school confreres, which greatly pleased me, because I have always been such a rebel contrarian.  (I learned to be a rebel contrarian in Catholic school, because I was picked on a lot in these institutions, and it was either that or knuckle under to the bullies.  And I was not one to knuckle under to the bullies.)

Lent was also a lot of fun in my house.  Spring was coming on and my dad would beautify the yard with his Italian gardening skills.  He would spruce up the house by scrubbing various dirty items -- like the stove and the barbecue -- and perhaps applying some paint.  My dad was a kick-ass cleaning person.  So was my mom.  And they knew how to make our house shine.  Perhaps they were a bit over-the-top in their cleaning enthusiasm, but I enjoyed the results.  And on the Fridays of Lent, my mom would cook the most amazing fried fish dinners.  She would pick us up from school and we would go by the fish market on the way home.  Yes, there was an actual fish market in our town.  You don't see many of those these days.  My mom would purchase filet of soul and oysters, which she would coat in a batter of flour and egg, frying them in her electric fry pan.  This wonderful fish would be served with tartar sauce she made herself and lemon wedges.  The sides would be fresh asparagus or artichokes, homemade mashed potatoes, and sourdough bread.  It was amazing.  To be honest, though, I couldn't stand the oysters.  But, I loved the filet of sole.  And since my parents both loved the oysters, and never forced them upon my sisters and me, all was well and happy.

Now, some of you may think that all of this doesn't sound very sacrificial and suffering-inducing.  And it probably wasn't.  And I think that's one of the reasons I grew up to love Jesus so much.  I always had very positive associations with Jesus and being Catholic and Lent.  Jesus was AWESOME and being Catholic was AWESOME and Lent was AWESOME!  In my childhood, anyway.

So, what am I giving up for Lent this year?

Lent blog posts.

And I am resolving to remember the Lents of my childhood -- full of family and fun and love and good food.

Pax. ;-)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Future Hipster Life

How do I know about hipsters?

Because of Shawn Hatosy.

Shawn is one of my top five favorite movie stars. He nails his roles. Always. And his hair is perfect. Always.

If you watch "SouthLAnd," you will immediately recognize Shawn by this perfect hair. He plays Sammy Bryant -- a detective for the first three seasons, and a uniform cop during seasons four and five. But, whether in a suit or a uniform and gun belt, Shawn's hair is consistently flawless.  As are his scenes. And his gun technique. And his driving. Ben McKenzie, who plays Sammy Bryant's partner -- Officer Ben Sherman -- probably wins in the foot chase category. But, nobody outclasses Shawn in the driving department. That's why the director almost always has Shawn drive and Ben jump out of the car and run. Directors are paid to know what's what about these things. And that's why the women characters should want to go out with Sammy Bryant instead of Ben Sherman. I mean dating, after all, involves much more driving than foot chases. That's the way it was in the '80's, at least. Perhaps things have changed???

So, anyway, back to hipsters. As I said, I know about hipsters because of Shawn. He likes to make jokes about them. Good-natured jokes, of course. Shawn is never, ever mean. I'm not going to explain here what a hipster is. I'm just going to tell you about my goal for the future, which involves hipsters.

Here goes:

Right now, I live in suburbia. It's nice and all. I'm not complaining. I have a typical suburban SoCal house in a typical suburban SoCal neighborhood. I drive a minivan, which is nice because I can fit my two greyhounds into it, as well as my hubs and my three young adult kids (who are all in various phases of living at home). My neighbors are great. The town in which I live is safe and clean. It is a lovely, lovely place to raise a family.

But, it is all a bit dull for my retirement. And when I retire -- no offense to the other retirees, who I'm sure are all fun and exciting -- but, I want to live with the hipsters in Silver Lake.  Because that's where hipsters live -- in Silver Lake.

Silver Lake is this place in LA, which is very "edgy." As far as I understand, there are edgy coffee places and restaurants and club-type establishments and shops. And there are many, many hipsters, who seem to be quite entertaining to be around. Especially when you are -- like -- 60 or 65 or 70 years old. I think there is also a medical marijuana place in Silver Lake, but I don't really want any of that. Because I learned on "SouthLAnd" that medical marijuana is much stronger than regular marijuana. And I just don't see that anybody would be served by me having any of this medical marijuana -- or even regular marijuana. So, I won't go to the medical marijuana place. But, I would like to go to the edgy coffee shops and restaurants and club-type places. I would like to sit and have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with the hipsters and chat with them about their concerns and their goals for their lives. I would not actually BE a hipster, you see, because I really can't do skinny jeans and I am a miserable failure at wearing scarves (they always fall off when I bend over), but I think I would enjoy the company of the hipsters. And I think they would enjoy the company of me. I might even try some sushi in Silver Lake. Who knows? Maybe Silver Lake -- with all of those "fumes" wafting through the air -- would embolden me enough to let go of my fear of a brain parasite and try some sushi. Especially if it came with saki.

So -- as I imagine it -- when I am 60-ish years old, my hubs and I and any of our kids who want to come and any pets we might have will get some kind of cool place to live in Silver Lake, with hardwood floors and the most modern paint colors and clean windows and some type of little herb garden (to grow basil, NOT marijuana). We will hang my daughter Andrea's photographs on the walls. Maybe we will all go in together and buy a triplex or a little apartment building. That way, if my kids have families of their own, everyone will have a their own space and plenty of privacy. Wouldn't that be nice? We will trade in our minivan for a Subaru and invest in some reusable grocery bags. This abode will be within an old person's walking distance of the trendiest coffee houses and restaurants and bars. I envision myself heading down each morning to get a cup of coffee and staying for a little chat with my hipster friends, who will find me eccentrically fascinating. On most days, I will take an additional walk in order to have lunch or dinner or drinks or listen to music or go shopping for trendy handbags. Being within walking distance of all the fun means that my hubs and my kiddos will never have to worry about their mum getting into a scrape with the cops over having a bit too much saki with her sushi. And the proprietors of all the establishments will have my son's cell phone number handy, in case he might be needed to walk his mum home after her night on the town.

Of course, by the time I retire, there may not be anymore hipsters. But -- if my life experience has taught me anything -- it's that there will be some new and equally fascinating phenomenon to take their place. And this new and equally fascinating phenomenon will probably exist in Silver Lake. And I'm game. ;-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Love, Respect, and -- Say, What???

Perhaps I am misunderstanding or misinterpreting something here. But, I have been seeing an idea floating around the interwebs to the effect that:

*Women need love and men need respect and this is the way to have a good relationship/marriage.*



This reminds me a bit of these lame-ass books I read years ago called "Fascinating Womanhood" and "Man Of Steel And Velvet," which basically advised men to do manly things like kill spiders and women to cry like little girls when their husbands were unfaithful to them (thus, playing upon the emotions of these dudes and bringing them back into line.)  I kind of tried to get into these ideas, as I was a Reagan conservative at the time, and all.  But, they also kind of made me gag.  Over the years, I have decided that these books and their ideas serve nobody, really.  You don't encourage women to act like little girls in order to gain the love of their husbands.  Women are also plenty capable of killing spiders, for land's sake.  And being a good, suportive husband does not require dudes to perform manly feats of daring-do.  My son, for example, is a very manly man.  And guess who was standing on the arm of the sofa when the GIANT lizard got into the family room?  And guess which woman with the biology degree caught said lizard -- with her bare hands, no less.  Yet, when I am at a loss and need advice about an important matter, guess which young man is always readily available with a sympathetic ear and solid horse sense?  "Manliness" and "womanliness" are not always so easily defined.

Anyway, these fascinating, steely, velvety ideas seem to be back, although somewhat repackaged.  Women need love and men need respect, you say?  I say bunk. They both need both.  Over a lifetime, they both need both.

Now, I have heard women speak disrespectfully of their husbands.  Truly disrespectfully.  And -- maybe -- that is what these "new" ideas are addressing.  It is very destructive to a marriage when a woman is consistently disrespectful of her husband in thought, word, and deed.  It is just plain mean.  And shows a lack of love.  But, I have also heard husbands speak disrespectfully of their wives, which is destructive.  And mean.  And shows a lack of love.  Love and respect are -- intricately and irrevocably -- tied together.

I guess, though, what people may be thinking of, when they speak husbandly love, are tenderness on the part of the husband toward his wife -- an emotional connection, understanding of her feelings, a sweet touch and expression, an intuitive knowledge of her needs in the moment. For example, if the wife is suffering severe barfiness and exhaustion every evening during her first trimester of pregnancy, a husband who knows -- without being asked -- to bring the TV into the bedroom, so he can both watch the game and rub his wife's back while she suffers for the sake of their child, could be said to be showing love. This husband realizes the need his wife has of being close to him, even if she is not particularly good company for a few months. He will recognize that watching the TV out in the living room while his wife is stuck in the bedroom every evening after dinner -- unable to achieve an upright position without upchucking -- is not the loving thing to do.

By the same token, when people think of a wife showing respect to her husband, they may mean that she actively shows an appreciation for the things he does for her and their family, for his abilities, for his strengths. If a husband is good at his job or at household repairs, for example, he probably would appreciate his wife praising him for those things. Such praise from the woman he loves would, naturally, give a man confidence and build his self-esteem.

Now, before I make my feminist self hurl by talking like this, I would like to point something out.

Even though women need love and men need respect, I believe it is equally true that women need respect and men need love. I have been married long enough -- and many of my friends have been married long enough -- that I know this. I know it for sure.

After a long day, during an illness, while grieving a loss -- heck, at any and all times -- men need "love" just as much as women do, in many of the same forms that women need it.  They enjoy tenderness and intuitive understanding just as much as any woman.

And women need respect as much as any man does. Women go through many phases in their lives -- phases which are often dramatically different from each other. This may sound -- or even be -- sexist, but many women bear children.  And this bearing of children and raising them and having them leave the nest means that a woman must redefine herself several times as she goes through life, in a way that is both professional and profoundly personal. Having the respect of her husband is vital to a woman -- to her self-confidence and sense of self-esteem -- as she goes through these phases. A husband who shows his wife that he respects her in her roles as a wife and mother, in her professional and creative endeavors, who actively supports her as she transitions from one major role to the next, gives her a truly priceless gift. The esteem with which a husband regards his wife's intelligence, opinions, and thought processes will profoundly impact the way she views herself. A husband's respect for his wife has just as much an impact on her self-confidence, self-esteem, and success as a wife's respect for her husband has on him.

Life is complicated, and sometimes (blessedly) messy. Let's not put each other into nice, neat little boxes too easily. Those boxes, which -- admittedly -- may seem to work at times, can end up being our self-imposed prisons, whether we are male or female, married or single, or some combination thereof.