Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

I feel like I’ve given up on romance. I’ve always been the guy who made mixtapes, wrote bad poetry and brought the object of my affection flowers for no reason. Over the past four or five years of my marriage those things just stopped and I’ve recently started to examine why. I’ve stopped believing in “true love.” The thing that all great art is about, the reason songs get written and ordinary people become almost godlike in the eyes of us lesser beings just doesn’t exist. I found my “soul mate” and we just couldn’t make it work. Nearly fifteen years of love and happiness and surprise just kind of ended and I can’t really get a handle on why unless its just because love isn’t the answer. Is monogamy just wrong? Is being with one person forever an unnatural state that society has forced us into? Should I just hook up with random people until I die? Is loneliness fatal? I seem to have more questions than answers at the moment but I will keep looking. Right now I’m just feeling a little bit cynical.

I hope this isn’t it. As of two weeks ago I have completely sworn off marriage. I tried it. Twice. And both times it just didn’t work out. I want to believe in love, I really do but I just can’t figure out what it means anymore. I love my friends. Is that enough to sustain me?

On the flip side, I talked to a casual acquaintance online last week for an hour or so and when the conversation was over I felt really good about it and then started thinking too much. Were we flirting? Was it just a conversation about mutual likes and dislikes? What would happen if it were flirting? Am I an idiot? See, more questions. Up until now I would talk to someone and it was just talking. Now I talk to someone and I over think the conversation and make myself a little crazy. Is that single life? Is self doubt and gnawing uncertainty what I have to look forward to?

I’m rambling and I don’t think listening to Suzanne Vega while I write about love was a good idea.

So Amy and I are in a better place emotionally than we have been in years. We are great friends who we have learned can talk to one another about anything. Its a little odd to talk to the woman who has shared your life for so long about the girl you hooked up with but we are odd people. We’ve had several conversations about how I should get out there and date as much as possible without getting into a relationship. I have traditionally been a serial monogamist but she thinks (and I agree) that I need to go out and have some fun. Relive those “free” years that I completely skipped over. Then she mentioned boys. My “bi” revelation a few years ago was one of the things that I feel led to the dissolution of my marriage and while she disagrees she has made it a point to tell me that I need to date some men at some point. The problem with that is I have NO idea how to go about doing something like this. The closest I’ve come to a gay club is multiple watchings of Queer as Folk. My other problem is my work schedule. Monday is pretty much my only day that is completely my own. Tuesday is my day with the kids to go places and do things and the rest of the week is spent at work and while I don’t have a particularly difficult job my hours are long and I sometimes don’t get a lot of sleep on the weekends so even though I’m usually home by 7:00 on a Sunday, I’m too tired to do anything.

I have come up with a plan to get some exercise, lose some weight and hang out with more people. My nephew is 25 and lives in Carytown and gets off work at around 3:30 on Monday afternoon. Yesterday I played my first round of Disc Golf and it was pretty awesome. Of course, my entire body is sore from the walking and throwing as I am unaccustomed to doing any kind of physical exertion but it was a great time. The plan is to go to the park and play every Monday and play some disc golf.

One last thing. My first post at GayRVA.com went up today!

Fat kids

Posted: December 7, 2009 in Non Fiction, Random

The key for the obese to surviving those horrible years between the blissful ignorance of childhood and the waking stupor that is adulthood is to realize that even though you may be fat, you’re also a worthwhile human being. Keep in mind that you’re going to hear a lot of hurtful and hateful things in your life and there is no definitive way of dealing with the ignorance of your fellow man. I’m not one of those touchy feely types, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. I’m not going to tell you that if you work really hard and use those extra special workout tapes your grandma got you for your birthday that magically all your problems will go away. It doesn’t matter whether you have a glandular disorder or if you just double fist Twinkies every afternoon while watching reruns of Mama’s Family, you’re still fat. Telling the smarmy kid in homeroom that your glands are screwy isn’t going to get the little bastard to tease you any less. Keep in mind, if you’re fat, you’re fat; using terms like “big boned” or my all time favorite “husky” are flat out patronizing to any of us with half a brain and any shred of self respect. The first step to feeling better with yourself is simply being able to say “hey, I’m fat” and being ok with it. Fat is not a dirty word no matter how many self help gurus, dietitians and “life coaches” tell you it is. I think the main problem our society has with overweight people is the negativity we associate with the word “fat”. It’s got a stigma to it that used to be reserved for words like “gay” or “communist” when our grandparents were catching Jackie Gleason on the “picture box”. Being comfortable when you say the word “fat” can go a long way to making you impervious to the childish insults of, and I use the term loosely, your peers.

U R SO GHEY!

Posted: December 2, 2009 in Non Fiction, Random

For the most part, I don’t look at the cold hard facts when discussing something like this. I’ve read a bunch of stuff about how gay couples in long term committed relationships tend to be two income, usually in some kind of white collar job. They tend to move into urban neighborhoods and the communities that change over to predominantly gay neighborhoods tend to have higher property values. None of that matters to me. What matters to me is that they are human beings, Americans who are being denied the same rights that those of us who aren’t gay enjoy without thought. Amy (my wife) and I aren’t together because I’m a man and she’s a woman, we’re together because we love each other. It’s as simple as that. If you’re in love, and you’re willing to make a lifelong commitment to someone, regardless of their color, national origin or sexual orientation.

When I was a little kid my dad used to get his paycheck on Friday afternoon, cash it and disappear until Sunday night when he would roll home wearing the same clothes he had on Friday, reeking of alcohol with no money to his name. On occasion he would come home furious because his best friend Jim Beam told him to be and he would drag my mom across the road by her hair. What kind of country do we live in that gives a man like that more rights than an upstanding-pays his taxes-takes out his trash-tells his partner “I love you” every day kind of man?

It wasn’t that long ago the black community took the brunt of a “right thinking” society that was so certain that allowing blacks to have the same rights as everyone else would bring about the collapse of society, people were killed in the name of “right”. We live in a new age where hateful violence occurs less often and gets much greater media coverage. Thankfully, things that would have been ignored and swept under the rug twenty years ago now get played on the half hour on CNN. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough. Americans are being denied their rights by other Americans and I cannot stand by and allow it without speaking up.

You may think being gay is an automatic “go to hell free” card, and that is your right. Just keep in mind that once upon a time, people were fed to lions for believing in your hell. Remember that all people of this planet, in one form or another, have had to fight their way up from some type of persecution. No matter if you’re black or white, Christian or Hindu, rich or poor., at some point in the history of your people there has been hatred, bigotry and persecution. How can we, as a society, tell our citizens that they aren’t allowed the thing our forefathers fought so hard to procure for us.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

With liberty and justice for all.

Oh Sweet Baby Jesus!

Posted: October 21, 2009 in Non Fiction, Random

Today my mom told Logan she wasn’t sure if I believed in God. She said that I used to but she didn’t know anymore. Amy got a little bent out of shape about it but I understand. My mother’s very limited view of what God is has her very confused by my beliefs. Most of her faith comes from a book written by men and then hundreds of years later, rewritten by even more men. It’s not only a pale shadow of what it once was; it’s not exactly the one universal truth she wants it to be. That is the crux of our theological differences. She believes with all her heart that everything in the Bible is absolute truth and my beliefs are a bit more universal.

I grew up in a Baptist home, I was taught that our God had no name but that wasn’t exactly the truth. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and according to the Jewish faith, God’s name is Jehovah. For some reason, even though it is in the Old Testament, most Christians will tell you that their God has no name, I couldn’t even begin to guess why. I think it might have something to do with distancing themselves from the Jewish faith, I really don’t know. What I do know is, naming God is one of the things that has gotten people in trouble over the years. You see, when I was in high school I went on something of a spiritual journey and even though every religion I read about had a different name for God, they still had God. Even those religions that didn’t necessarily worship a deity still believed in a higher power. A creator of all things, a driving force behind the universe. Even those religions that dated much farther back than the Judeo-Christian God we’ve been taught to worship had a higher power to worship, albeit in most cases it was a pantheon of Gods rather than one all powerful being.

A regions religion tends to reflect the hardships of its people. People who were conquered and submissive tend to preach peace, those peoples who were the conquerors tended to preach strength. Mohammad lead his people to victory and taught them that they should fight back, be vicious if need be but that there was a higher power guiding them.

Ignorance also plays a part when picking out your divine being of choice. In ancient times the Greeks, Romans, Norse and many other peoples created Gods to explain the things around them. Storms weren’t caused by changing weather patterns or moving cold fronts, Zeus was angry or Thor was riding his chariot across the heavens. The thought of a higher being controlling the world around them, and by sacrifice and ritual the people held some sway over the Gods, the people felt comforted, loved.

Which of these is the truth? Who was right? These are questions I have spent a great deal of time and reflection on and here is what I’ve found to be MY truth. In all the religious texts and rhetoric I’ve read over the years can be broken down to two basic truths.

1-Yes, there is a God
2-He wants us to be good to each other

Everything else is just window dressing. All the books and traditions and trappings and trimmings most religions build their whole faith around is inconsequential nonsense. I can’t believe that going to a designated building on a designated day to say things you only half mean will get you into heaven or closer to God. God lives inside each and every one of us all the time and I don’t think he needs to be reminded nonstop how awesome He is, I have a feeling He already knows.

And that brings us round to the “Church thing”. I was taught to be a good Christian you had to go to church and give some money and pray and sing in a designated manner. I think that is, for lack of a better term, a bunch of crap. I have a lot of faith, in God, in people, just in general. What I don’t have is an overwhelming desire to bow down before a political machine and give them my money on my quest for a higher power. Churches are just that, political machines with leaders and followers and one of the best scams in the history of civilization. A handful of people in charge of the operation tell you to give your money to them because they have the keys to the kingdom and because those books written by men and rewritten by other men tell us that Church is where you are supposed to find God, everyone falls in line and opens their purses to the people with the direct line to God. I know not all Churches are like that, in fact I know for a fact that some of the people in charge of these things believe they are doing good works and genuinely care about people, however, that’s not the point here. All Christian churches are an offshoot of the Catholic Church and as such, hold with at least a few of the beliefs that original Christian church was founded upon. The church somehow becomes more important than your faith. Using that middle man to secure your place in heaven just doesn’t make any sense to me. There is a passage in the Gospel of St Thomas (which the Catholic Church deemed heresy and everyone else fell in line) where Jesus tells his disciples that they were his church. I don’t remember the exact quote but what it boils down to is, everyone should show everyone else how to live, not by telling them the rules, but by living the best life they can. I think that’s smart, and its something that another great man named Gandhi told his people nearly 2000 years later.

Now with all this talk about different religions I’m guessing the next question to ask is “well, which one do you believe in?” That question is simple and complicated at the same time. See, there are two answers here, the first is, I don’t believe in any of them. I don’t think any of the prescribed ways to get into heaven applies to me. The other answer is, I believe in ALL of them. There is no wrong answer here. However YOU believe faith works is how it works for you. My relationship with God is very personal, I don’t feel like I need a special building or a certain day to have a chat nor do I believe I need some kind of holy middle man to tell me how to get the heaven. I understand that other people do and that is just fine by me. The only time I have a problem with it is when those people insist that their way is the ONLY way into heaven. Those people I tend to get angry at and then later, I feel a little sorry for. Their world view is so limited and so narrow that they will not only miss out on a lot of life experience but they may also miss out on knowing some truly great human beings because their minds are so far closed. To clarify, yes Virginia, I DO believe in God and in turn, I think God believes in me.

So the nomination process has begun for the People’s Choice Awards. For years this was the only awards show I really paid any attention to as it was the only one the fans had any control over. I’ve never taken an active role in the process though. I was always content to sit back and agree or disagree with the pretty people on my television. This year I am going to get more involved in the shallow end of the “community” pool and take a little time to be shallow. Who is coming with? Below I’ll list the people I nominated and why. Unless I don’t have a reason why and then I will hopefully say something snarky and get a cheap laugh. Cheap laughs are almost as good as a cheap pop at the pro wrestling show. ISN’T THAT RIGHT RICHMOND! (see, naming the town you are currently in usually gets you a cheap pop) SCIENCE!

The site says you can vote for up to five but I think I’ll keep it at three unless there are a lot of people worth talking about in a category. Or Kristen Bell. I plan to vote for her in every category. I miss you Veronica Mars!

Favorite Movie:

Action Star
Christian Bale – Yes his voice was annoying as hell in Dark Knight but otherwise he was kick ass awesome.
Liam Neeson – If you saw taken you understand this. If you didn’t go do so now. If I’m ever a kidnapped teenage girl send Liam to save me. He’s good at it.
Vin Diesel – He’s just so pretty.

Breakout Movie Star
Ed Helms – I’ve been a fan of Mr Helms since his work on the Daily Show. He’s got this ability to make himself look like the dumbest person in the world and you can’t help but love him for it.
Zach Galifianakis – I first noticed this tiny hair man on the short lived FOX series Tru Calling. He was just the nerdy straight man who helped Eliza Dushku change her pants. Or something like that. He’s funny in a surprising way. Sometimes when he says things I think “I shouldn’t laugh at that” but I do anyway.

Breakout Movie Actress
Carey Mulligan – I didn’t see Public Enemies but she was brilliant in the episode of Doctor Who she did. My son says its the creepiest episode of anything he’s ever seen.
Gennifer Goodwin – She’s the cute wife on Big Love and she does voices for Robot Chiken.
Rashida Jones – The clear winner here. Her work on the Office and Parks & Rec were great but her body of work is pretty impressive too. She’s been on Freaks and Geeks… actually that’s all I can remember. I really like her though. I hope she wins.

Comedic Star
I wrote in David Tennant. Nothing has made me laugh more than Doctor Who lately. His timing is just perfect.

Comedy Movie
Of the movies listed the Hangover was the only one I had seen. I did toss a vote for Zombieland because I know I will love it when I see it based on friends.

Family Movie
Coraline – Smart and gorgeous.
Up – Smart and sad and gorgeous.
Where The Wild Things Are – Smart and furry and gorgeous.

Franchise
Harry Potter – I love young wizards and witches. The books are a magical story about growing up and becoming a hero and the movies are almost as good.
Transformers – This is my childhood nostalgia overloading my good sense. I don’t care how many plot holes or impossible physics or cheesy dialog there is. Optimus Prime in on the big screen! Nerdgasm!
X-Men – Much like the Bond films, switching up actors and putting out a new flick every five years or so would be ideal. There are SO many stories they could tell. I hope they don’t limit themselves to the actors and characters they’ve already used.

Independent Movie
Sunshine Cleaning – This movie was odd and charming and really well told. I loved the characters and the cast equally.
Taken – See Liam Neeson above. This movie was just flat out GOOD. The scene where he’s on the phone explaining calmly to his daughter that is IS about to be kidnapped is a powerful piece of acting.

Favorite Movie
The Hangover – No other movie made me laugh this hard all year.
Star Trek – This was a HUGE surprise to me. I didn’t expect to like it at all and it was one of the best films of the year.
Watchmen – I wrote this one in. I’m not 100% sure what the date cutoff is but this came out in March so I think it should still be eligible. If not that’s ok, there wasn’t anything else on the list I was all that keen on anyhow.

Movie Actor
I wasn’t sure what to do here so I just picked the three I have the most respect for. Denzel, Depp and Tom Hanks.

Movie Actress
Amy Adams – I kind of fell in love with Amy Adams in Drop Dead Gorgeous when she was the perky, kind of dim cheerleader. Her later roles have shown me how much depth she can put into a character. Sunshine Cleaning was the final piece.
Rachel McAdams – She is much funnier than people give her credit for.

On Screen Team
The Hangover – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis & Justin Bartha
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint & Emma Watson

Favorite TV:

Competition Show
PASS

Sci/Fi Fantasy
Dollhouse – I know this will seem like an odd choice to anyone who has heard my long winded diatribes about “Rapehouse” but hear me out. I trust Joss Whedon. I trust that he has a plan to make the awful concept worth watching and I suppose I will keep watching until that happens.
Heroes – I still love it I don’t care what anyone says. Since they kicked Jeph Loeb out of the writers room the show has returned to the awesomeness that it had in the first season.
Supernatural
Rarely has a show, especially a genre show, gotten better the longer it goes on but Supernatural has done that. Every season the danger is bigger and the stories more epic. I can’t wait to see what they do this year.

Comedy Series
Chuck – Is this comedy? NAY! It is action, drama, thriller, comedy and commercial all in one. Never has a show had so many product placements and never have I noticed less. This show is about MY people. The nerds and the geeks and those of us who wish we could become something bigger. Also, killer soundtrack.
The Office – The only show on TV (not animated) that makes me wince while I laugh.

TV Comedy Actor
Neil Patrick Harris – Getting rid of that child star stigma is nearly impossible to do but NPH managed to do it. People still call him Doogie but in a loving way.
Steve Carell – Since his time on the Daily Show I have loved his approach to comedy. He’s got a dry with and an uncanny ability to play clueless.
Zachary Levi – Possibly the most Jewish name in all of Hollywood right now. Plus he’s CHUCK!

TV Comedy Actress
Alyson Hannigan – My love for all things joss runs deep but I didn’t even need him to become enamored with the saucy redhead. She’s always had great comedic timing even when she was evil Willow but she really shines on HIMYM.
Tona Fey – One of the smartest writers in comedy right now.

TV Drama
24 – I only voted for this because it was the ONLY show on the list I actually watch and it should be in the sci/fi category. The situations are complete nonsense but I love seeing what kind of shenanigans Jack will be up to every week.

Drama Actor
How come all the “drama” actors are from genre shows? That’s odd.
Jeffery Donovan – Watch Burn Notice. Its fantastic!
Joshua Jackson
Zachary Quinto

Drama Actress
HOW IS ANNA PAQUIN ON THIS LIST? She’s the second worst actor on that show (a distant second behind the guy who plays Bill). So to be fair, maybe its not her fault. Her scenes with the other actors seem to be ok but the heavy emotional stuff with her “boyfriend” comes across like an elementary school version of Les Miserabe.

TV Obsession
Ok, this is a weird ass category. It does make me miss Buffy though.

TV Talk Show
The Daily Show – I don’t need to explain this do I?

Favorite Music:

Breakout Artist
I’ve been listening to so much British pop/punk from the 70’s this year I’ve kind of ignored new music. I refuse to vote for Lady Ga Ga and she’s the only person I recognize so I’ll pass on this category.

Collaboration
The only one of these I’ve heard is the “On a Boat” song and I cannot in good conscience vote for that.

Country Artist
I guess Johnny Cash is out huh?
I wrote in Dixie Chicks. They are about the only modern country I can listen to.

Female Artist
I went with Alicia Keys due to a lack of options.

Hip Hop Artist
Beastie Boys
Eminem

Male Artist
Pop Artist
R&B Artist

None of these really stood out to me. Am I becoming one of those old people who can’t get into the “new” music or are they just giving me really crappy choices?

Rock Band
Now see, this category has music I’m familiar with.
Foo Fighters – I wrote them in because I think they are the best American rock band of the last 15 years or so.
Green Day – Consistently one of my favorite bands since I picked up their first album in high school.
Kings of Leon – This guys voice cracks my soul. One of the best bands of the last few years.

If you would like to vote head over to http://www.peopleschoice.com/pca/ and follow the links. You don’t have to sign up to vote.

Your mom goes to college

Posted: October 14, 2009 in Random

I spent my evening with some college age friends playing Magic the Gathering in their dorm room. We had a good time as we always do but when I left I was seized with this overwhelming sense of melancholy. We sat in their closet sized room full to the brim with bunk beds, desks and a folding card table to play and all night people just popped in to say hi or ask questions or to take orders for some college related item or other. When I headed home I walked across campus to my car and realized just what an incredible experience I missed out on by not going to college. I’m 35 years old and if given a chance I think I would move into a dorm room and spend the next four years discussing existentialism with a bunch of intellectual posers and have a blast doing it. When I was a kid I identified with people who were older than me. At 12 I spent as much time as I could around people who were in their early twenties. It seems that is the age I am most comfortable with as I find myself doing it yet again.

I went over to my friend Jess’ house today so we could do some writing and talk to each other about our plans for NaNoWriMo. We got almost nothing accomplished as we chatted happily like two old ladies on a stoop. I have a really hard time keeping my focus and I think Jess does too. Luckily we seem to really get each others work and can take criticism from the other without getting angry. It’s nice to have at least one friend who I can share my writing with who won’t either trash it completely or say “I like it” and leave it at that.

I have a press release that I was supposed to write last week and send out. We are having a charity Magic tournament in November to benefit the Massey Cancer Center at MCV in the name of one of our players who we lost last year. I didn’t really know him but those who did absolutely loved the guy. I’m having a hard time coming up with the right mix of proper empathy and PT Barnumesque shilling for the event. I hope to have it written tomorrow.

The Magic event is going to happen in conjunction with the first two day VA Comicon in 25 years. I’ve been talking about this show with a lot of people and the general feeling is that it will fail pretty spectacularly. I am keeping a good thought in the hopes that we get more big shows here in town. Jess and I were discussing that Richmond could host a Dragon Con type convention and make a pretty decent showing of it. I’ve been talking to my boss about it and the desire to try it out is there. Now I just have to convince people with money to back the thing. More on that at a later date.

I’m keep rock star hours

Posted: October 13, 2009 in Random

I am trying to get back on schedule. My weekends are kind of crazy as far as the hours I keep. This past weekend was pretty typical for me which is probably not a good thing. Let’s take a look at my schedule.

Friday:
7:30 am – Get kids off to school
11:00am – Get to work
6:00pm – D&D game #1 shows up (6 players)
7:00pm – Friday Night Magic begins (we have 20 players for that)
8:00pm – Board gamers start arriving
8:30pm – D&D game #2 begins (6 players), board games are well underway (4-8 players over the course of the evening)
10:00pm – I play my first game of Elder Dragon Highlander (not my last)
4:00am – Collapse on sofa and sleep hard

Saturday:
8:30am – Wake up
10:00am – Open the store
6:00pm – Close the store and play D&D
2:00am – Get home and go directly to bed

Sunday:
9:30am – Wake up to the sounds of the Princess Bride. I watch that until I have to leave for work.
12:00noon – Even though my voice is completely gone I run Deadlands for three players.
5:00pm – Close the store
9:00pm – Finally go home after doing paperwork and restocking.

The only thing odd about this is I usually get out at 5pm on Sunday. I just had a few things to take care of. That brings me to today where I had what I can only describe as a gaming hangover. Its a good thing I don’t work on Mondays or I would be completely screwed.

I had planned to add more but I am tired and I have a mysterious pain in my left side that won’t go away. I should have some new stuff up at richmondcomix.com in the next couple of days though.