Sunday, March 24, 2013

The What of Who

Doctor Who is coming back next week!  It's not too late, it's never too late, to start traveling with the Doctor.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who love Doctor Who and people who have never seen Doctor Who.  Clearly I'm a lover, an ardent admirer and wannabe companion.

I haven't been there since the beginning, there will be no pretense of super fandom here.  Over the years I saw the odd episode and was unmoved to seek out more.  The show has been around since before breathing was invented, we're on the eleventh Doctor now, so when the reboot started making noise, I didn't pay much attention.

That all changed one grey December afternoon upon sequestering myself in the bedroom to wrap Christmas presents.  I cruised the offerings on TV, not much was on so I didn't change the channel from BBC America and got to work.  I remember thinking "might as well have a look" and I wasn't expecting to fall in love.

But that's how love is, love is surprising.

The very first episode of Doctor Who that I ever saw was perhaps one of the worst ones for a rookie to start on.  Utopia was the beginning of a three part story arc that relied very heavily on events from the previous season, I had no idea who the players in front of me were, let alone the former players being discussed.  I didn't know that Captain Jack Harkness was unable to die, I didn't know who Rose Tyler was and I didn't know the Doctor was the last remaining Time Lord.

None of that mattered, I was hopelessly confused but none of it mattered.  It was love at first sight.

Here is Cairn's big theory about how Doctor Who became a worldwide phenomenon.  It's all David Tennant's doing.  Yep, that's it in a nutshell.

David Tennant was the perfect person in the perfect role at the perfect time.  It was a confluence of events, a collaboration of enthusiasms, that transcended the sum of its parts by the power of pure love.  David Tennant grew up being a Whovian, a geeky fanboy that fatefully grew into a devilishly handsome and talented actor. That fanboy lived out every fanboy's dream scenario and got cast in the role of his own hero.

David Tennant loved every single, delicious moment of playing the Doctor and it was a visual delight.  His enthusiasm for the role, for the legacy of Doctor Who, coupled perfectly with his talents and we the viewers could feel it too.  No sentence was wasted, no word ever tossed away; those words were usually flowing faster than rushing water, but being carried away on them was sublime.

It was the personification of joy, the realization of delight and the frenzied abandon of glee all in one beautiful blue police box.  I love to watch people in love with what they are doing, it's glorious to see a human in such a pure state, such a raw state.  We see raw hate all the time, but don't stop to revel in the raw love as much as we should.

Nothing on television ever affected me the way the tenth Doctor does, still to this day.  I can't watch an episode of the Tennant series without crying, all the way through usually.  My emotional response to the tenth Doctor is powerful, overwhelming almost, but my tears are not sad, they are tears of joy I think.  Because I get to be in on the joy, there's so much that it spilled out onto the entire world, I became part of a family bonded by pure joy.

I'm pushing back a few tears right now just thinking about it all :)

There is a new Doctor now, however Tennant is a tough act to follow.  Matt Smith is a fine Doctor, he really rocks a fez and has culinary leanings of which I approve. There will be a new companion soon, so we had to say goodbye again and those are always hard.  Amy and Rory Pond were great, their personal love story was one of the best ever on television and they will be missed.

But I am and always shall be a DoctorDonna girl.

There have been eleven Doctors and each one is a different man, that is the real glory of Doctor Who. Each man carries the memories of his predecessors, but each man reacts to them differently.  There is no predictability when you travel with the Doctor, be prepared for surprises, be prepared to run a whole bunch and never turn your back on statues of angels.

But do yourself a favor, next Saturday night go and meet the Doctor if you haven't already.  He's a good man with two very good hearts and a sweet ride.  Give him an hour and he will give you the whole of time and space in return.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blaming The Victim

Good morning Travellers, I got my first hater yesterday!  An auspicious occasion in my book, because no one is anyone without a hater.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised it took this long, but we're seeing a lot more traffic these days and this post ought to earn me a few more.  What's great about haters you ask?  For one thing, it lets me know that I hit people where they live, that my words had an impact.  The other thing, the best thing, is that haters bring out lovers.  For every one hater that speaks, a couple lovers step up to defend and that is pretty freaking awesome.

My post about bullying yesterday aroused someone's ire, however that person didn't see fit to comment in this space.  The comment was posted to Facebook instead where I was accused of 'blaming the victim'.

Please allow me to clarify.  I would never blame a true victim for being victimized, it happens all the time and true victims deserve sympathy and support.

I HAVE, DO and WILL blame those who choose to be victims.  I blame the choice, I blame the weakness of character for making the choice and I blame anyone who supports that choice.

How about some first person life ownership from me?  I loved my business very much, the loss of it was engineered by others but I was complicit in my own destruction.  I'm the one who did not cover myself, I'm the one who didn't insist that the lease negotiations get sped up so I wouldn't be operating on a month to month basis.  I AM THE ONE WHO WAS SO SCARED ABOUT THE IDEA OF LOSING THE THING THAT MEANT THE MOST TO ME THAT I ALLOWED THE THING THAT MEANT MOST TO ME BE TAKEN AWAY.

Yes, that bastard who owned the building did me wrong, he is partially to blame for deliberately gutting my family.  But I share that load because it's my family, it's mine and I didn't protect it.  I accept my responsibility for my role in victimizing myself.

And I don't feel one bit sorry for me, oh no.  I did this to me and I have to live with the consequences.

So if you are victimizing yourself, don't expect pity from me.  You can expect a firm but loving metaphorical slap to the head, wake up and take up people!  Empowering victims is an idiotic notion, empower ownership instead.

Empower yourself and others to take ownership of your lives, wallowing in your self pity isn't going to get you anywhere.  You will just keep failing, just keep being miserable and downtrodden, because those things are all choices that YOU make.

Making the choice to own your life is not easy, nor is it pretty.  It's ugly and depressing to admit to yourself that you are a grubby critter, especially if your entire life hinges on the illusions of sanctimonious righteousness.

My parting thought to the hater is this:  Every word you wrote was an attempt to set me up, an attempt to get me to bully you.  You tried to manipulate a situation so you could continue your familiar role of being the victim because you confused strength with oppression.  That I am opinionated does not make me a bully, that I don't agree with you doesn't make me wrong.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Was Born

I’m a Scorpio, the sign that rules birth and death

I have lived a thousand lives

I have died a thousand times

But I do not mourn the losses

Because each time I was reborn

Like a Phoenix, I rise from the ashes

More glorious than I was before

I am perpetually reborn in glory

I die every day

Every day I am reborn

I am the Phoenix, I am glorious

I was born, I am born, I will be reborn

Each death was but a step on a path

Each birth is a new beginning

Glory for the Phoenix

Bully For You

I've known many couples in my time that practiced a dominant/subordinate relationship.  I don't judge, whatever makes them happy is none of my business really, but my years of observation showed me one very important thing.  Despite how it appears, the dom doesn't have any real power, it's the subbie who controls the relationship in truth.

That's all the kinky sex for this post, this post is about bullies because it's the topic du jour everywhere.  I've read articles by parents, victims and reformed bullies but not one of them has addressed the real problem.  So here I am.

Let me say this loud and clear:  It takes TWO people to have a relationship, even a bullying relationship.  One person has to do the bullying and the other person has to ACCEPT the bullying.

Put your hackles down, I'm not done.

I'm not condoning the torment of innocents, however I'm not blind to human nature and we are all bullies in one way or another.  It is the human condition to impose our wills on others, have you ever threatened your children with taking away something they like when they're not bending to your will?  Bully.

It's who we are, it's what we do.  But, and this is a very big BUT, only you get to decide what you take on board.  Someone is saying nasty things to you?  About you?  So what? If you let someone else's words hurt you, then you have hurt yourself.  You allowed it to happen, you let the bully in.

It is no one else's job in this life to protect you, it is your job to protect you.  The reason there are so many bullies is because there are so many tasty victims walking around, just begging for it.

I was a fat, angry, surly kid in high school, I got bullied of course.  But even then I knew it was just high school shenanigans, that those kids had no real power over me.  Mistee Martinez, yes I still remember your name, tried to make my life in school a hell.  Whatevs, I survived and learned not to let the Mistee Martinezes of the world get over on me.

Mistee wasn't a bully, she was a lesson.  I saw her briefly once after high school, we chuckled about it.

You are in control of what affects you, if you are not a victim, you won't be a victim.  If you walk tall, if you understand that only YOU are the captain of your ship, then that attitude radiates from you and the bullies will slink back into the darkness.

Physical bullies are a different matter, but only slightly.  I'm pretty sure the reason no one actually hit me in high school was because they knew deep down that I would hit back.  That unpredictability saved me, actually it saved them because I would exact vicious retribution on anyone who ever dared to strike me.  I'm not trained to fight by any means, but I am built to dig in and fight back, not run.

People are like dogs, they smell the fear, the uncertainty and move in for the kill.  Stop smelling like a victim, own yourself, laugh at your flaws and charm the hell out of those bullies, turn them into your allies.  It is not difficult, because the bullies are afraid too.  YOU learn to smell THEIR fear, YOU learn to capitalize on it and YOU change the situation.

As with all situations in life, YOU have the power.  Please stop giving it away.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Soaring on the Wings of Pigs

I've got a long history of loving flying pigs - and yes they are real, just like Jackelopes.

This is from an old episode of the Simpsons when Homer wanted to throw a BBQ so grand that his neighbor Ned Flanders would be jealous.  Of course only a whole swine would do for such an occasion, but that poor little pig had quite the ordeal.  It got dirty, it got wet and eventually it took flight.

"It's just a little airborne, it's still good!"  Homer cried out, ever the optimist.

The Kids in the Hall had a great bit, well I like it anyway, about a flying pig too.  Clyde always looks at me like I'm crazy, but that bit makes me laugh like an idiot.

What can I say?  I have a soft spot for Canadians :)

I even have a small statue of a flying pig in my back yard, I bought it for myself after the death of my once-in-a-lifetime-true love dog Harry.  Somehow that little happy pig reminds me of my boy, I can't really say why.

Oh hasn't this been a long and roundabout set up for something that's not even about pigs?  Relax and enjoy the journey I say, there's nothing wrong with a stop or two on the way to the main event.

Today's post is actually about a person, a really swell guy by the name of Bob Sanchez.  Bob recently did me a tremendous kindness and this is my small way of saying thanks.

That's a nice face.

So we all know that I pulled the book off Amazon because it needs reediting, I asked my writer's group for some guidance and Bob generously offered to look over the first chapter.  He's an author himself, a published author and has dabbled in the dark editing arts, so I jumped on that offer like it was the last hot dog at the picnic.

I sent him the chapter right away, very anxious to hear a professional opinion, and was a little surprised when his first response was to send back just the first page with corrections.  I looked over the page, it was riddled with notes and it was a revelation.  You know how it is when sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees?  There are way too many trees in the manuscript and Bob made that obvious to me with one page.

But I did puzzle over the why-ness of the first page only and then I realized that Bob Sanchez has done this before, generously offered his time and given his honest feedback.  I'm fairly sure he only committed to that first page to see if I would flip out over the corrections, to see if I would get defensive and argue about all my precious words.

Oh Bob, I used to be a chef, I went to a fancy culinary school that taught in the classical style.  I have been critiqued by Nazis, not kind, cuddly Nazis, mean ones that throw potatoes at your head if you're not holding the knife correctly.  I have had my hair blown back more times than I can count and every one of those tongue lashings made me better.

Those Nazis, er chefs, only wanted me to be a better cook and knowledgeable criticism is a gift beyond value.  Please do not think that Bob was a Nazi in any way, no spuds were launched; instead he gave me a no-nonsense evaluation of how I write. I'm a little sloppy, I see that now.

Bob gave me the outside perspective, he looked at the book with the eyes of a stranger and gave me some new things to ponder.  Even the title of the book, The Last Prospector, could be misleading for someone who is looking for a Western to read, not a Fantasy or vice versa.

I'm not changing the title, but am thinking about how to subtitle the book to make it clear that it's a Fantasy.  Which is something I never would have considered without reasonable criticism.

There are three morals to this story:

1.  Bob Sanchez is an amazingly cool guy, so please check out his crime novels.  When Pigs Fly, is quite naturally my favorite title, but there are two other well reviewed titles, Little Mountain and Getting Lucky.  Stop by his blog or even slap a happy thumbs up on his Facebook page and become a fan.

2.  Criticism is not a personal shot, don't take it personally.  None of us can grow without others of us pointing out the flaws in the plans and criticism is a tool not a weapon.

3.  Pigs DO fly.

So thank you Bob Sanchez, thank you a million times over.  That one edited chapter was one of the best gifts I have ever received.  Thank you for your kindness and generosity, thank you for your time and knowledge.

Thanks for not throwing a potato at me!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Life In Six Words

I recently joined a fantastic writers group on Facebook called Blogplicity.  It is a tight knit community full of very talented bloggers who enjoy interacting with each other.  Lately you have seen some of my offerings for the group, such as the 100 Words on Saturday, and today's post is the response to another writing prompt.

The 6 Word Memoir is based on Hemingway's short story, For Sale: Baby Shoes Never Worn and is an attempt to distill our lives into one compact statement.  Since we are past the middle of the month, many fantastic autobiographies have been posted, often leaving me envious and worrying that mine would be worthy.

But I was assigned the 17th of March, it's a date I could have said no to, could have rescheduled, but these things happen for a reason.  Today would have been my daughter's 29th birthday and I don't have any words to share about her loss.

The following words are all about me, but I won't pretend that losing Brianne didn't bring me to this place.  The following words are not meant to be flippant or blasphemous in any way.

Made in the image of God

Tomorrow's memoir by Vrndavana Vinodini will be found on her blog Just Write.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Everybody Lies

Honesty is tricky business, isn't it?  We all want to be transparent, all want to be shining beacons of clarity and truth, but the light from that beacon can be a very harsh glare.  Not everyone appreciates having a beacon of clarity so close by, so ready to shine.

I have told many whoppers in my time, sure some of them were told purely for sport, but some of those lies were used to cover my own ample derriere.  It took me many years to figure out that the non-sporting lies were more trouble than they were worth, that the telling of them diminished me and trying to keep up with them was exhausting.

As a cook, people will lie to you all the time.  They'll tell you they liked the food when they didn't because they don't want the cook's feelings to be hurt.  It took me many years to practically beat that impulse out of my friends and family, when it comes to food especially, DO NOT LIE to me.  That won't help anything, the food won't get better and the poor chef will think she's done well.

My other best friend Tess is my go to test subject for new dishes, she has an amazing palate that we've spent years educating and will tell me every tiny thing that is liked or disliked.  It never gets ugly, I don't get defensive because my goal is to make the best dish, not just an ok dish and Tess feeds me the purest truth.

I became a truth teller after my daughter died, I had no more patience for the petty and meaningless lies of kindness that are so rampant.  I got slapped up with a harsh dose of reality, that a kind lie is more hateful than any other kind and true love required true honesty.

It's not an easy thing to do every day, particularly with strangers who don't understand that I'm not actually trying to crush their hopes and dreams.  It's not easy to crush my own, but if I don't smack down my own lies with equal or greater ferocity, then truth telling is completely pointless.

I still lie in many ways, I loathe my next door neighbor, she loathes me but we still pretend and make pained and polite conversation with each other when forced.  But to be honest, because I'm telling the truth right now, I haven't gone off on her because Clyde won't let me.  She really has no idea all the hits my husband has protected her from all these years, NO IDEA.

And I lie to my dog, all the time, every day, every moment of every day I lie to the Blue.  I tell him he's my favorite puppy dog ever (lie), that he's the toughest pit bull on the planet (lie,lie) and that I would be nowhere without his diligent security measures (whopper lie).  Ours is a relationship built on lies, my lies anyway, since Blue is a dog, he's very honest about how he feels about me.

I'm a distant third, sometimes fourth on Blue's list of favorite people and he never lets me forget that.  I don't hate him for being honest, I kind of respect it and it's never a lie when I look into his eyes and tell him exactly how much I miss my last dog Harry.

But that's family for you, they are still required to wag their tails even though you're honestly not their favorite.