Happy 10th anniversary of our broadcast premiere!

June 1st, 2005. A lifetime ago (assuming that you’re younger than ten years old). 14 faces appeared for the first time on the WB. Well, aside from all the promos that aired up until the premiere, but this was the first time the faces were on-screen for longer than thirty seconds during a commercial break.

To Eric and Cheryl, Joe and Erika, Brad and Krystal, Bill and Lauren, Richard and Mindi, Chuck and Caitilin, and of course Scarlet: Happy anniversary, everyone. It was an honor and a pleasure. Yes, at times, it was really unpleasant, but overall, an honor and a pleasure.

Everyone say Cheese!
The cast of Beauty and the Geek, Season 1

Christmas is getting longer

You’ve probably noticed that Christmas continues to get longer year after year. There used to be 25 days starting on December 1st. In 2014, it swallowed up my birthday — October 19th — with Christmas decorations and holiday music already in stores.

It doesn’t just start early, either. Now it sticks around for part of January as well. I didn’t really notice until this year that car companies’ “holiday sales” stretch into the middle of the month. Mid-October through mid-January. Four months of Christmas and growing. (Some people say there’s a war against Christmas, but if that’s the case, Christmas is kicking their asses.)

And just in case that’s not bad enough, I went to get a haircut yesterday, February 24th. They have a fridge in the back of the salon with pop, so I went to grab a Coke before I left. What did I see on the can?

A picture of Santa.

A reason for me to celebrate V-Day

A conversation with my uncle this afternoon brought me back to high school when we performed the musical Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? I played Father O’Reilly (I know, I totally look like an Irish Catholic priest) and I had a few solo lines during one of our big numbers:

The patron saints want your veneration.
They can give you a hand if you give ’em a call.

Why did this pop into my head? Because he informed me that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy.

Regardless of my relationship status, that’s something that I have a lifelong bond with. Unfortunate, but I’ve survived this far. Survived to the point of not having a seizure in close to 12 years. It’s possible that my brain has become addled during that time—St. Valentine isn’t the patron saint of brain-addling, so he’s no help there—but at least I’m functional and that’s something I’ll always appreciate.

I promised myself I wouldn’t make any callous seizure jokes at the end of this because I really am happy that things are going as well as they are. I met someone in the United Hospital epilepsy ward back in 2001 who had dozens of staples in his head because they cut out a chunk of his brain. I’ve got a small scar on my forehead from running into a volleyball standard in fifth grade. That’s how well things are going for me.

So now I’ve missed two holidays that I’ll have to celebrate belatedly. One is St. Valentine’s Day and giving thanks to the patron saint (or just giving thanks in general). The other is 50% Off Chocolates Day because I didn’t make it to the store today and it’s too late to head out there now. That’s one I’ll definitely be celebrating tomorrow.

P.S. — In case you’re wondering, the collision with the volleyball standard didn’t cause any brain trauma. I’ve had a couple of CAT scans done on my head and they’ve revealed no physical abnormalities. Plus the scar is on the left side and the excess brain activity is on the right side. We don’t know why the seizures are happening, but they happen. Happened, past tense. I think life is better that way.

Is “homophobia” really homophobia?

Welcome to Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day and Day Before 50% off Chocolates Day 2014. (If you celebrate all three of them, you may have some explaining to do.) This year, I’m in the latter two categories, but that didn’t change the fact that I started thinking about love this morning. So many couples out there celebrating together in romantic fashion and not intentionally rubbing single people’s noses in it, but doing it anyway, which is really, really annoying. But I digress.

I know a wide range of people who enjoy Valentine’s Day with their partners: teenagers and great-grandparents, married and unmarried, straight and gay. I’m happy for all of them. But what I thought about this morning (and I honestly don’t know why it popped into my head) was the concept of “homophobia”, the fear of gay people. And maybe there are homophobes out there who are afraid of how they might be celebrating: giving each other Valentine’s Day cards, going out for a nice meal at a restaurant, cuddling while watching a romantic comedy on Netflix… pretty scary, isn’t it?

I understand some phobias. Arachnophobia: fear of spiders. Those fuzzy little things that squirm around in your hand and could crawl inside your mouth while you’re sleeping, whereas gay people… wait. Okay, maybe not a good comparison.

But a spider can bite you, inject you with poison and kill you. Acrophobia: fear of heights. Because falling down a really long distance can kill you. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: fear of long words. Because it’s a really long word and anyone who can pronounce it properly on their first try is probably a psychopath who plans to sneak into your bedroom tonight while you’re asleep and kill you. Lots of scary things out there.

So arachnophobes don’t want to hold spiders in their hands because they might get poisoned. Homophobes don’t want to shake a gay person’s hand because… they might get queerness on their palm that could kill them? No, they don’t want to shake hands because they hate gay people.

It seems more along the lines of sexism and racism: some people are beneath you and you want to treat them like second-hand citizens, if not worse. That’s not a phobia; that’s being an asshole. But trying to call their behavior “homoism” or “homocism”… those words don’t make any sense. And calling them assholes is both non-specific and kind of ironic, if you think about it. So what are we stuck with? Homophobia, which sucks. And not in the good way.

But I don’t want to cast a pall over the day. Valentine’s Day should be a happy celebration, even for us lonely folk because we get to smother our sorrows with half-price chocolate over the weekend. So to all of my friends who are spending the day with someone special regardless of your lifestyles, I’ll be enjoying the rest of today vicariously through you, especially since I don’t have a subscription to Netflix.

My 2013 New Year’s resolution…

I’m not making one. I never do.

Back in December of 2005 or 2006, I don’t remember which, I decided to attend a local Toastmasters meeting. I thought it might be interesting, a chance to meet new people, I’m good at public speaking… I decided not to join the organization—there are very few groups to which I pay dues or give donations and one more just didn’t seem practical. Still, it gave me a good story to tell.

The people there were very open and friendly and let me sit through the meeting as an observer. Well, they would have let me be an observer if the MC for the evening hadn’t recognized me (thus, the reason why I think this happened back around when Beauty and the Geek had been on the air). Instead of knowing I was on TV, she thought I was a member of the group, so she called on me to give a quick speech.

I went up to the front of the room and there were maybe a dozen pairs of eyes looking back at me. They asked me a question and I had to give them an answer on the spot. Someone had a timer with lights on it: the speech was supposed to be between 1:00-1:30 long, so I think it was yellow for the first minute, we could stop when it turned green for thirty seconds, then absolutely had to stop if it turned red. (I don’t think anyone survived that long.) There was also someone with a pad of paper counting how many times you said “um”, “uh”, etc.

My question? “What is your new year’s resolution?”

There were a few highlights of my answer that lasted one minute, eight seconds. When I started talking, I started rolling up my sleeves at the same time. I reached a point when I needed a moment to think, so I very deliberately leaned toward the mistake counter and said “UM.” And finally, the answer itself was telling them that I don’t make new year’s resolutions.

Why not? I’m not entirely sure, but whatever the reason, I said that I usually fail to uphold my resolution, then I feel shame—I remember using that word specifically—and making resolutions isn’t supposed to make me feel bad about myself. I may make an effort to change something, but it’s never a resolution. I don’t want to be ashamed if I fall off the proverbial wagon.

I was one of four or five people who had to give a spontaneous presentation, then everyone voted on who gave the best speech. After the meeting, the MC apologized for calling on me since she thought I was a member, then added that I got a few votes from people. Sometimes I wonder if I would have earned more votes by leaving my sleeves alone while talking; most times, I don’t care that much.

Like I said, it’s a fun story to tell. And even though it’s probably taken you longer than one minute, eight seconds to read this blog entry, you should still have an idea of why I’m not making a new year’s resolution. Sure, I’ll try to eat better, get more exercise and what not, but as for some pledge to myself that I’d likely break within the first two weeks of January… better safe than shameful.

ADDENDUM: As it turns out, I wrote about this Toastmasters meeting and not making resolutions two years ago. Well, the story is just that good, dammit! And while I’m not making any promises, I’ll try not to repeat stuff like this in future blog entries. Even if they’re good stories, dammit!

I slept through the holidays!

Okay, that’s a lie, but I’ve spent enough time in a cave (see: basement) that I’ve forgotten to wish pretty much everyone I’ve seen a Merry Christmas in the last few days. Thus, Merry Christmas to everyone I’ve seen! And haven’t seen, for that matter!

To those who don’t celebrate Christmas, I don’t have a calendar nearby, so I’ll just wish all of these as part of the holiday season: Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Wicked-Awesome Festivus… uh… yay for surviving the lack of the Apocalypse? (Sorry if I left out some denominations’ celebrations, but I hope you’re enjoying the spirit of the holidays, too.)