Photo Ninja.

Posted in WhatNot on January 23rd, 2015 by Diva

My man is somewhere in this photo. Well, just the back of his head, actually. I was sitting right next to him, but I’m not even in frame.

Now in this photo, you can see my face on the left, but I’m blocking my man’s head.

In this one, a person standing next to our table managed to block my man and I both with a simple hand gesture.

I don’t know how he does it, but unless someone asks and he specifically poses, he doesn’t show up in public pictures. He’s never in a crowd shot at any event, from a huge festival to a small birthday party. I haven’t even found his visage in the millions of fan photos taken at DragonCon over the years.

It’s like he doesn’t exist unless he’s aware of the photographer.

Wait … do any of us exist without online documentation anymore?

This moment brought to you by Buzzfeed.

The Journey.

Posted in SoForth on January 19th, 2015 by Diva

Orlando. Los Angeles. Las Vegas. Seattle. Vancouver. Bozeman.

Wait …

… Bozeman?!

Maaaaaybe.

Watch this space.

Letting Go of the Fucks.

Posted in WhatNot on January 16th, 2015 by Diva

[long rant about how Facebook has become an endorphin rush circle
jerk and an endless loop of back-patting ultimately resulting in
an entire generation who doesn’t know how to deal with ego death]

You know what? You do you.

I’m tryin’ Ringo. Tryin’ real hard.

It Is Not a Toom-ah.

Posted in WhatNot on January 15th, 2015 by Diva

Oh, WebMD.

I went there to check on a minor issue, specifically a rash that has developed on my forearms. It’s not worth going to the doctor; there’s no itching, burning, redness, nor any other sign something is physically wrong. It’s probably just the dry skin one gets in a dry climate in winter.

Knowing this (read: I knew better and still did it), I used the site’s online symptom checker, and the possibilities I received in return were:

Sunburn
Wind exposure
Hypothyroidism

Innocuous and innocuous followed by HOLY SHITBALLS. No wonder there are so many jokes about checking one’s health online.

On the bright side, though, this is the first time it didn’t mention cancer.

A first for everything.

So Hard to Be Nice?

Posted in WhatNot on January 13th, 2015 by Diva

A big girl in Tennessee got bullied on Facebook for posting her plus-size junior prom dress for sale. I only know this because her story made the news when her local community rallied around her.

It’s so sad we’ve come to expect kids will be bullied, no matter what, when what we should be doing is teaching everyone – children and adults – that all humans, no matter how different or personally unappealing they seem, deserves a modicum of respect.

I chaps me that bullying and trolling are somehow accepted as a new “normal.” Being polite and kind to each other isn’t the rule, but the exception, because a lot of us surrendered our right to stand up for basic human decency.

This story shouldn’t have made the news because the behavior should be ubiquitous. Exactly the same reaction should happen every day in every village, town, and city where people understand and agree on how to treat each other. It should be so normal it doesn’t attract the attention of any reporter.

Bullies and trolls should also be shamed out of doing what they do, not by taking them on directly – that kind of attention is what some of them live for – but by drowning out the negative with a barrage of positive, encouraging messages.

That’s what those decent folks in Tennessee did. It’s what I try to do.

How about you?

Meanwhile, Emily Post continues spinning in her grave.

Untie the Knot.

Posted in SoForth on January 10th, 2015 by Diva

She awakened fully to the painful knowledge that this was a day when she would be possessed by a mood which cut her off from fraternity.

It was also at those moments that she would have the clearest intuitions, sudden contacts with the deepest selves of others, divine the most hidden sorrow.

But if she spoke from this source, others would feel uneasy, not recognizing the truth of what she said. They always felt exposed and were quick to revenge themselves. They rushed to defend this exposure of the self they did not know, they were not familiar with, or did not like. They blamed her for excess of imagination, for exaggeration.

They persisted in living on familiar terms only with the surface of their personalities, and what she reached lay deeper where they could not see it. They felt at ease among their falsities, and the nakedness of her insight seemed like forcing open underworlds whose entrance was tacitly barred in everyday intercourse.

They would accuse her of living in a world of illusion while they lived in reality.

Their falsities had such an air of solidity, entirely supported by the palpable.

But she felt that on the contrary, she had contact with their secret desires, secret fears, secret intents. And she had faith in what she saw …

Yet she was never surprised when people betrayed the self she saw, which was the maximum rendition of themselves. This maximum she knew to be a torment, this knowledge of all one might achieve, become, was a threat to human joy and life. She felt in sympathy with those who turned their back on it. Yet she also knew that if they did, another torment awaited them: that of having fallen short of their own dream …

Carrying this ultimate knowledge, she was often the victim of strange revenges: people’s revenge against the image of their unfulfilled dream. If they could annihilate her they might annihilate this haunting image of their completed selves and be done with it!

~ Anais Nin, Children of the Albatross

Isn’t the bird burden getting heavy?

The Road Less Traveled.

Posted in SoForth on January 8th, 2015 by Diva

I’ve got the road trip bug again, but to go to territory I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting. I’m too familiar with the drives from Denver to Las Vegas, L.A., Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and Dallas, so this means either heading north or flying east and renting a car to explore.

The northern itinerary would have to include Mount Rushmore, lots of Montana (including Glacier National Park and maybe Yellowstone), and perhaps just over the U.S. border into Banff if there’s time and money. The eastern one would entail either flying into Boston and driving to various spots all down the seaboard, or going to Baltimore/DC and driving south along the coastline.

I’ve also threatened to go to the World’s Longest Yard Sale for years now. It’s in early August and stretches 690 miles, from Michigan to Alabama. I talk myself out of it consistently because it’s only four days long … how much ground can one vehicle cover, with stops to browse? No way I could find all the good spots and bargains in such a short time. Also, it’s in the midwest in late summer. I do NOT do well in heat, humidity, and direct sunlight during the height of bug season. And I don’t want to go it alone, but who would put up with “hot & cranky Diva” for more than a few hours?

I just talked myself out of it again. *sigh*

Oooooh, I just remembered something a friend did a few years ago: The American Gods road trip. I’d set it up as a mobile book club, though, where the group follows the novel as we travel – maybe even read to each other aloud in the car – and then actually stops at the spots Gaiman wrote about.

This appeals to me on so many levels, I very nearly emitted a *squee* just now.

By the by, all this contemplation started with one little video posted by @TheGoodDeath on Twitter.

I just adore roadside America. That’s why I love to drive it so much.

Clearly Gaiman liked it, too.

Celebrity Death Pool 2015.

Posted in WhatNot on January 4th, 2015 by Diva

Once again I’ve purchased a 10-person slot over at Doug Stanhope’s Celebrity Death Pool. If you care to join us this year, you can send a request to funeral home Beat a Dead Hearse, then choose 20 celebs you think will kick it in 2015. Pretty easy.

It’s a tad morbid, too, but it’s all in good fun. Put another way, if you don’t find the whole idea even mildly amusing, it’s probably not for you. Me, I read Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (Mary Roach) and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (Caitlin Doughty) simultaneously over the holidays. Yes, THE HOLIDAYS. I found both tomes well-written, absolutely fascinating, and worth my time, too.

Death pool begins at midnight in your local time zone on January 15th.

Pick wisely, pick well.

What You Need.

Posted in WhatNot on January 3rd, 2015 by Diva

You’re looking at Mr. Fred Renard, who carries a chip on his shoulder the size of the national debt.

This is a somber man, a friendless man, a lonely man; a grasping, compulsive, nervous man. This is a man who has lived 36 undistinguished, meaningless, pointless, failure-laden years, and who, at this moment, looks for an escape. Any escape. Any way, any thing, anybody, to get out of the rut.

That’s from the start of a The Twilight Zone episode.

If it hit a little close to home, well … that was the intent, I suppose.

Why question it? It’s there for you. You just take it.

Future Perfect.

Posted in SoForth on January 2nd, 2015 by Diva

I was 10 years old in 1976, the year my friends and I each calculated exactly how old we would be in the year 2000.

I didn’t know it at the time, nor did I figure it out until well past that year, but from that one minor conversation among children, I had begun to obsess on the upcoming, turn-of-the-century date. In hindsight, I can plainly see I’d developed a superstition about the number 3 by then, and I was going to be 33 on New Year’s Eve 2000, so that would (obviously) be MY year.

I know my interest in 3s wasn’t based on the grand trilogy of the Bible; I didn’t know about the “divine” 3 until I was well into high school. I got active in a church around 14, where I heard about it first, and then in school choirs I was told a lot of music from certain eras is written in 3/4 rather than 4/4 because the time signature was “closer to god” somehow. This information made me feel better, too, because it turned out I wasn’t the only one with that particular superstitious quirk.

Anyway, this little belief of mine had me convinced the year 2000, at age 33, was going to be my best year ever. No matter where I was in life, that was going to be all for me, and it was going to be AH-MAY-ZING.

New Year’s Eve, 1999, I dressed up and went out with a slight fever that turned into strep the next day. By mid-year, I had moved from a lovely 3-bedroom in a safe neighborhood to a studio apartment in a questionable one. I’d lost my dungeon and could no longer afford a phone, so the business I had as a pro domme dried up. I gave up my car because I couldn’t afford the insurance or gas.

The rest of the year, MY year, included betrayal, heartbreak, vengeance, loss of an entire support network, extreme poverty, and more difficulty I’ve had in any other year before or since.

It was a doozie, but it popped me clean out of the habit of forming expectations of the future. When you’re worried about where to find your next meal, you don’t think much about tomorrow or next week or 24 years from now. I learned, in the hardest way possible, not to put stock in what’s next, but to focus on what’s right here, right now, in front of my own damned face.

I also came out of it thinking anyone who has been born into privilege and never suffered for food, shelter, or clothing should be forced to live as poor as I did for the next two years. It’s a helluva wake up call, not just to the psyche, but to the suffering of others. I still occasionally dream about the cockroaches and the endless ramen meals and wake with the fear and loneliness that enveloped me back then.

I let go of a lot in 2000. I don’t plan to do the same in 2015, but if it happens, I know I’ll get through it just fine. It’s what I do: Survive. Thrive. Live better than before.

I haven’t quite let go of 3 yet, though. Maybe someday.

It’s a magic number.