Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where do you Start?

It's 11 at night on a Sunday. I had one of those days today that makes me sentimental and reflective. I don't typically spend a lot of time on my blog discussing my personal life, so you know... read or skip, but you've been forewarn.

I often wonder where my life would have taken me with one different turn.

There are so many forks in the road that has been my life.

How about that decision I made, round about my junior year of high school, where I chose to follow the dream of being an actor and not a history teacher. The decision to not be a paleobotanist was sort of made for me by my extreme lack biology acumen. The decision to not be a baseball player was made even sooner by my aggressive lack of discipline.

The choice between actor and teacher was a tough one for me. More than most people know. I still love the idea of teaching. I mean... what other job can you have where you are so demonstrably smart? I love thinking I'm smart. I may, or may not be actually smart, but I sure love feeling like I am. History still holds a unique fascination for me. I had some extraordinary history teachers in high school. I've always thought there was something magical about finding some way to share these elegant facts in a way that draws in the otherwise apathetic.

Of course, it's a romantic notion. And god damn, I'm nothing if I'm not a romantic. Which leads me to my ultimate decision... What's more romantic than joining a profession of poets and performers and idealists and all of those things that 16 year olds think actors are?

So I put all my eggs in that basket. I spent the next year searching for a college program for theatre. I gave no thought at all to what would happen if I changed my mind. This is how I ended up at Wright State University. As a Musical Theatre major. Amazing the possibilities that were ahead of me.

So... There's the fork I think about all the time. The number one fork. And it has led to so many more forks...

What would my life look like had I not been cut from the Musical Theatre BFA program after my freshman year?

Would I live in Chicago or New York? Would I be married? Would I be broke? Would I love theatre or view it as a job? (See... that was always the thing I thought I'd never lose.)

Just the other night I was reminded of my thought process the Summer after I got cut. It was too late to get in to most colleges for the Fall term, so I considered delivering pizzas for a year while I tried again. I considered just moving to New York and trying my luck (at 19!! What a fucking joke. I could barely do my own laundry.) Dee Anne suggested I go talk to one of her long-ago mentors at Thomas More College, Dr. Ron Mielech. Doc (as I'd soon come to know him) offered me an immediate second chance. I wasn't ready to let go of my dream of being an actor, even though I'd been told that the dream was ready to let me go.

Suddenly I was enrolling and registering for classes at a college that I thought was an internet college or something. A thought based almost entirely on a really dumbass jingle on the radio, and no other information to go by.

I found myself thriving, and loving this small (decidedly NOT Internet) college in Northern Kentucky. Amazing what a string of decisions leads to.

Don't worry... even though I could break this down into hundreds of individual decisions of course, I won't. I could discuss the minute details of choice after choice. I have an absolutely stellar memory.

Oh god... This is getting weird. I'm not good at sharing like this. I tend to ramble...

The point is, I'm grateful. It's crazy... I finished a really miserable week at my job where I worked 12 hour days from a combination of sweat boxes and a hotel room. I missed the Muchacha something fierce. I missed our cats. I got home yesterday morning, and found my love of home renewed.

I mean, there's always room for improvement. I need to get a crown on one of my teeth this week. I could stand to lose a few pounds (as usual). Work is insanely stressful, and not that much fun. (Spoiler Alert: I decided not to be an actor). I could read more.

Today I spent a day with the beautiful Muchacha, doing all kinds of mundane things like hardware shopping, marathon training, and watching True Blood with a friend. I find myself happier than I've ever been.

I think about my life and I reverse-engineer the decisions that brought me here, and despite the pain and flux and confusion that many of those decisions caused in the short term, I have to say thanks to that 16 year old version of me for getting me to today somehow, because today? Fucking rocked.

Friday, March 18, 2011

National Blog Insensitivity

The Tofu Muchacha mentioned to me the other day that there's some sort of movement for a "Blogger Day of Silence" all blogs on March 18th in an act of support for Japan.

How in the ever living hell does a "Blogger Day of Silence" solve anything? Who believes that the people of Japan give two shits about whether I talk about what Disney movies I've enjoyed lately, or what outfit The Tofu Muchacha wore today, or what Jordan Baker thought about the latest episode of Top Chef? You know who believes the people of Japan cares?


Blogging is, inherently, a self-centered activity. Sure, there are some bloggers who have developed significant followings, but 99 out of 100 blogs out there started as a person talking to themselves. Only bloggers would believe that the populace of a country ravaged by natural disaster, (where people are DYING, and homes are destroyed, and oh... internet connections are being interrupted everywhere), would ever even know that a handful of self-important bloggers in the safe and warm confines of their respective homes DIDN'T blog. It's so fucking dumb.

I know, I know... It's a symbolic gesture. How bout this... if you feel that you need to make a gesture, how bout you donate to the relief funds? How about you use your blog for it's actual purpose, and write a post about how you've been affected by the circumstances you've observed in Japan.

Part of the beauty of a blog is that you can talk about whatever you want. Whatever you feel. On this blog I've talked about all kinds of nonsense just for the sake of talking about it. If I felt the need to make a blog related gesture on behalf of the millions of people who don't know I exist, I'd be more likely to go the cathartic route, and write something reflective about the tragedy.

Instead, I've felt the need to comment on the meaninglessness of a suggested gesture. And, you know, show the world (or my 11 readers) that I'm just an insensitive dick. Whatever.

You know... while I'm at it...

I've heard tell of bloggers talking about being actually offended that people on Twitter and Blogs had the unmitigated nerve to actually tweet and blog about.... NOT Japan. I know! How dare @redreporter talk about what happened with The Cincinnati Reds!?!?! How DARE Alan Sepinwall blog about TV on his TV blog?!!!?? The Nerve! The Gall!!

Listen... I understand feeling the need to all sit in a corner and cry when you can't do anything about something so horrible you can't really even comprehend the scope of it. I get it. 9/11 was like that too. Everyone just sat, transfixed, weeping and wringing their hands, and that made everyone feel so much better. But you know... it really didn't. What made people feel better? When football started back up again. And when Letterman made jokes on TV that weren't about terrorists and death.

The thing about people is... they get obsessive. We all have a need for diversion. Diversion doesn't mean we don't care. It just means we don't go crazy with grief and sadness.

And you know... if you don't want to be offended by the lack of FOCUS on TWITTER (the single least focused media outlet in the history of the world), maybe... I dunno... don't fucking go to mother fucking Twitter.

If I was all:

"I am so upset, and I really need to talk it out. I need to go somewhere where everyone is focused on talking about the exact same thing with the exact same amount of gravity I am."

You bet your ass I wouldn't go to Twitter.

All of that said...

The disaster in Japan is one of the saddest, scariest events of my lifetime. The magnitude and reach of the tragedy makes me breathe harder, and makes my hands shake whenever I see anything about it. My heart goes out to the people of Japan. I pledge to post this blog today in the hopes to let you know how trivial I acknowledge my blog to be, in comparison to just about everything. At this moment, especially when comparison to the suffering of the millions of people, this dumbass rambling should mean even less.

Make a real difference, instead of NOT blogging:
Click here to donate real money to the relief efforts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Sex-Crazed Mormon Basketball Star

I promise not to use the phrases "tiger blood" or "duh, winning!" or "goddesses", Oh, and I promise doubly to not mention Charlie Sheen, or the drug of the same name.

I'm a big sports fan, and among my favorite sports, college basketball is near the top. Late last week, a really interesting situation arose at everyone's favorite Mormon University and their basketball team.

Brigham Young University's basketball team has been exceptionally good this season. Possibly the best they've ever been. They have a breakout star on the team, whose name is Jimmer. He's a scoring machine, and largely as a result of his dominance, BYU has shot up the national rankings.

Late last week, though, BYU kicked their 2nd best player, Brandon Davies, right the hell off the team. A move that significantly hinders their chances in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

So, what did Davies do? He didn't assault a fellow student. He didn't cheat on an exam. He didn't get caught doing drugs. He didn't go to the Salt Lake City Zoo, murder a tiger, wear it's tiger pelt, and drink it's tiger blood (SHIT!!).

He had sex with his girlfriend. And then admitted to it.

Yup... That's all. Not to steal the comments of others, but all Davies did was exactly what I planned and hoped and plotted to do every minute of every second of college with any number of goddesses (DAMN!!) , except during the select few moments I succeeded.

Had there been a chance that this kind of thing could get me kicked out of school, or out of a play or whatever, I would have almost certainly risked it.

And here he owns up to his actions to his university, and they summarily remove him from his team, and threaten to remove him from the school.

The thing is... I think the school isn't wrong, exactly.

When a student goes to BYU, the rules are made crystal clear. You can not drink. You can not smoke. You can not consume drugs (including caffeine). You can not engage in pre-marital sex. Even with your serious girlfriend. These are known going in.

It's not like with me, at my job, when after 3 years of being paid a certain way, I was told that my whole pay structure was changing, and I could either accept it or find a new job. That's changing the rules after I'm waist deep in it.

Brandon Davies knew the rules before he decided to go to BYU. He knew them well enough that he told on himself after he broke the rules.

The rules are clear, the punishments are detailed beforehand. The school simply followed through with the ruling that they say was predetermined 100 years ago or whatever.

So, maybe the school wasn't wrong. Exactly. But I wonder if it's the right decision anyway.

I wonder if it's fair to the rest of the basketball team, and the dedicated fans who have longed for a successful team. I know in the military (at least in the movies), the actions of one soldier can result in the punishment of the whole unit. Is that legit? Wouldn't the argument be that poor Jimmer and the rest of team has had one goal for a whole season, which is, you know.. duh, winning, (FUCK!) and one horny player getting his rocks off with his girlfriend has potentially short circuited that goal.

I wonder if it's really fair to the student. Listen, I'm not saying that the oath they take is unimportant. I think it is important, but I also know how I was when I was 20. Promising not to have sex while I'm sitting in a sterile Dean's office signing an oath is a lot different than asking me to stand by that promise when I'm sitting on my couch watching some sexy movie with my sexy girlfriend. It's a lot to ask from a kid. Ask Charlie Sheen (CRAP!) how difficult self-restraint is. Maybe it is reasonable to ask, and maybe I'm cutting the kid too much slack, but what about the responsibility a school has to educate?

When I was a freshman, I was cut from a musical theater program for some reason or another, and was basically told that I needed to go to school somewhere else if I wanted to learn about what I cared about. I've always wondered if that was really serving the function of an institute of learning. If I was passionate, and willing to learn, and try to get better... how could they justify kicking me to the curb, even if I made mistakes.

Shouldn't the school give the kid a chance to correct himself? Isn't there a probation? Isn't there leniency to be had since he admitted it?

I dunno.. I see both sides, but I am also troubled by the situation on a human level. Logically, yes... Brandon Davies broke the rules that he knew were rules. He was basically punished exactly as expected. But damn... I feel for the poor horny kid who made a mistake that had it been any other kid at any other school, he would have simply exchanged high fives with his teammates.

I guess this is starting to head toward being more a "Are Mormons, or ANY religions for that matter, responsible to adjust their expectations to a more modern slant." Maybe it's not realistic anymore to expect a passionate celibacy.

But that's for another blog. That's what we call a teaser, because THAT'S how I roll.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Okay, so back in January, I wrote this blog where I talk at length about the sad, sad people who have to have negative political bumper stickers.

I then received a lengthy, and virulent response (to which I responded.)

Little did I know that the depth of the bumper sticker insanity had barely been marked at all.

This afternoon, I was on my way to pick up the Tofu Muchacha from work, and I was driving through downtown Cincinnati. Cincinnati isn't known as being the most tolerant place on Earth. It's a city known recently for the racism of their sports team owners and race riots.

So anyway, I'm driving, and I stop downtown at a red light. A car pulls up next to me, and honks their horn. I look over, and the windows are tinted, so I can't see the driver. They honk again, and I roll down my window.

The next part is a little bit of a blur.

It happened in regular speed, but you know sometimes something is so surprising that your brain can't give it the proper context quickly enough?

So this dude is leaning over toward me (he's on my driver's side, but he's like.. leaning into his passenger's seat). And I expect him to say something like "Your back tire is low" or "Do you know which way is Plum Street?", but no...


It takes me a second to even register what in the hell he's talking about, but I realize he's seen my "Obama/Biden" sticker on the back of my car.

So I sort of stammer for a second, (as an ode to Colin Firth's Oscar win), and then I say:

"UM... I.., uh... have no complaints?"

He cuts me off toward the end by shouting:


And then he rolls up his window. I admit to flipping him the bird, but I don't even know if he saw me. It was a fucking drive-by heckling.

About a sticker on a stranger's car.

I mean... aren't there a lot of issues with this? Does anyone else think that this sort of stinks of a lack common sense? Would you randomly shout angry things at a person you've never met? What if I had a gun on my passenger seat, and I'd just been all "Okay.... That's one fewer bullet for the spree I was planning, but what the heck!"? Is that a risk someone should be willing to take to shout a couple of angry curses about the alleged political views of a person?

What if I was just borrowing my sister's car? What if I bought it used and just hadn't had time to cover that sticker with my "Buck Ofama" sticker? What if I sported the sticker ironically? (none of the above, by the way.. I really did vote for Obama, and I would again.)

Kind of difficult to have any sort of meaningful exchange with a person when they're shouting from a neighboring car.

My point is...

Who's he convincing, exactly?

Is being menacing (and barely articulate) supposed to talk some sense into me?

I dunno.... Just some thoughts.