Tag Archives: TV

To write or not to write

I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

My flannel is wrinkled.

The spikes in my hair are flat.

I don’t want to write any more.  At least not right now.  Not today.  That’s for sure.

I am more content watching TV shows and movies or reading books.  Allowing words and images to wash over me instead of coaxing or forcing them out from that tricky place that’s part heart, part soul.


Movie poster of my life.

Part of me says it’s not ok.  Writers write.  If I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.

The other part says take a break.  Even if I’m not writing, I’m storing words and thoughts for future use.

Here’s some of what I’ve been watching and reading:

Sons of Anarchy — W started watching this biker drama.  I read somewhere that SOA is based on Hamlet and that got this English major’s juices flowing.  So, yeah, it’s well written and well acted, and I like trying to figure out the parallels to the Shakespearean tragedy.  There’s a couple of minor lesbian storylines, but this one is all about the boys and their bikes.  Look for cameos from Stephen King, 70s hottie Adrienne Barbeau and Jimmy Smits.  And appearances by Venus Van Dam, the show’s transgender character.

Women of Will — Speaking of Shakespeare, I saw this play at a local Shakespeare festival last weekend.  Really, it’s part play, part lecture.  Master Shakespearean actor Tina Packer deconstructs the Bard’s most famous female characters with the help of fellow actor Nigel Gore.  Is it wrong that I was hoping for a sexy scene between perchance Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude?  Here’s the question I asked myself right before the show began: How do I relate any of this to my writing?  Five minutes in, Packer was riffing on the role of gender in Shakespeare and how Will’s female characters changed as his perceptions about women evolved.  Gender.  Can we ever get a break?

The Guilt Trip — In this cheesy comedy, Seth Rogen takes a cross-country road trip with his over-involved Mom, played by Barbra Streisand.  There are some genuine laughs, but I especially enjoyed the running gag of this mother-son duo listening to the audio version of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex throughout the trip.  Because gender.  There it is again.


She’s hot!

Lucy — Scarlett Johansson plays a young woman exposed to a synthetic drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain and develop cool superhero-like powers.  “She’s hot!” W blurted out at the beginning of the movie, allowing all of us to read her thought bubble.  It was some kind of auto-Johansson response.  No doubt ScarJo is a looker with those blue eyes and blonde locks.  But I was hoping for something a little campier.  In the end though, what’s not to like about a beautiful babe kicking ass.

Bad Words — Jason Bateman finds a loophole in a spelling bee competition and creates a scene as he takes out the school-age competitors one by one.  I like when Bateman plays assholes.  See Juno.  Oh, and words.  There were lots of big words.  And a scene with boobs.

A Most Wanted Man — Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German spy in this John le Carre thriller.  It’s Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role.  As the credits rolled, W and I just looked at each other.  Sigh.  How sad.

The Best Nonrequired American Reading 2013 — Short stories, lists, poems, cartoons, all in one book.  An eclectic collection.  I read this every year.

* * *

What about you?  What are you watching/reading this summer?

Orange Is the New Black: Savor or devour?

Today is the day.  June 6.  Season 2 of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black is available.  All 13 episodes.

“How many episodes are we going to watch tonight?” W asked this morning.

“One.  Maybe,” I replied.

Of course, I’m itching to find out what’s happened to Piper and crew.

But I already don’t want it to be over.

You know she wants me.

You know she wants me.

That’s how much I love Orange Is the New Black.  It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s got lesbians and Laura Prepon in those black glasses.  Damn.

Besides, it’s the only show out there that can reference Pablo Neruda and female ejaculation in the same episode.  That Jenji Kohan is a genius.


The world may never know.  Wink.

So, binge or save?  It reminds me of a cherry Tootsie Pop and the eternal question of “How many licks?”  (Of course it does, Middle-age Butch.  You know you wanted to say that.)

We’ll start with episode one tonight.  It’s called “Thirsty Bird.”  I’ll make cheese steaks and tater tots for dinner, because it’s Friday night.  It’ll be an event.

Maybe we’ll watch an episode Saturday night and one on Sunday night.

All bets are off after that.

Because it’s a show that revolves around lesbians.  Butch lesbians and crazy lesbians.  College graduate lesbians and sexy lesbians.  Bad lesbians and bad-ass lesbians.

You know you can’t stop at just one.

* * *

Are you watching OITNB tonight?  Will you binge watch or spread ’em out?

Why Bomb Girls bombed

Last night, I ended up watching Bomb Girls for the first time.  I was surfing the channels and found the Canadian TV drama on some offbeat channel called Reelz.  I knew the show had a lesbian storyline, so it had my attention from the get go.   I’m obvious like that.

If you don’t know anything about Bomb Girls, it’s about a group of women working in a munitions factory during World War II.

Meg in Bomb Girls

Meg in Bomb Girls

Sure, the show had me at “girls,” but there was one thing that made the show unwatchable for me — Meg Tilly, who looks a lot like her actress sister, Jennifer Tilly.

Every time I saw Meg on screen, I immediately thought about her sister Jennifer and her portrayal of Violet, the sexy Sapphic mobster mistress in Bound, my third favorite lesbian flick of all time.  I was like Pavlov’s dog.  If Pavlov’s dog was a lesbian.

Bound came out right around the time that I did, and I was instantly obsessed with the movie.  I can remember one of my co-workers asking me about my sudden fascination with Gina Gershon.

“What is it about Gina Gershon?” she asked, throwing up her hands to illustrate her inability to grasp my sudden fixation with the B-list actress.

Just saying Gina Gershon still gets me all hot and bothered.  Gina Gershon.

I’m not sure that I knew what was up with me and Gina Gershon.  But I knew that Bound, with its Gershon-on-Tilly action, had me thinking about a whole lot of things in a very different way.

I had gone to see Bound with my husband, who was repulsed by the movie.

“I thought the movie was supposed to be about lesbians,” he said.

He meant the kind of lesbians who wear tube tops and make out with each other and the cute pizza delivery boy in a hot tub.

But these were my kind of lesbians.  Real and gritty.  Hot and sexy.  With tattoos.  In the end, Gina Gershon’s character of Corky gets the girl.  There is no pizza boy.  They never even order a small pie.

My first tattoo is actually a labrys modeled after the one that Corky sports in Bound.  I told you — I was obsessed.

Gina and Jennifer in Bound

Gina and Jennifer in Bound

Ok, so back to Bomb Girls.  Meg Tilly looked old and sallow and haggard.  And, here’s the thing — every time she came on screen, I kept thinking about  Violet.  Why was she working in a factory?  And what was up with that do-rag?

Sometimes we want to stay in that magic bubble where we looked our best and had the whole world spread out before us.  Meg Tilly certainly had me feeling my own age — that whole coming out thing was over a decade ago — and missing that exciting time of self-discovery and all-consuming thoughts of naked women.  Corky and Violet had, in a way, made that possible.  They showed me that it was possible to get the girl in the end and live happily ever after.

Meet my new pretend cat

I didn’t feel like doing any work today.

So I watched “Sex in the City” the movie.  And cried.  Ok, not really.  But I was really torn up inside.  Um, again, not really.

But it could have happened.  I was in one of those places.

Every once in awhile, I’ll have a day like this.  I’ll watch hour after hour of Hoarders, or Wife Swap or Storage Wars instead of working.

It’s one of the perks of working from home.  That and pajamas.

If I can stem the tide at just one lost day, I’m usually ok.

Four hours of Hoarders followed by a double Keeping Up with the Kardashians chaser is just an off day.

It doesn’t officially add up to depression until it extends into the next day and the next.

I like to think of it as a TV holiday.  Everyone should get a few TV holidays every year, if you ask me.  Today’s TV holiday is no doubt legitimate as it falls smack dab between the high Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Jesus himself couldn’t have planned it any better.

I text the wife.

Me: I don’t want to work any more.  Ever.

W: We should play the lottery more.

But I don’t want to play the lottery.  I would have to leave the house and drive to 7-Eleven.  I went to Wawa last night in my PJs to pick up dinner, and I don’t think I’m ready for another convenience store just yet.  At least not until more people start shopping in lounge pants.  What does everyone have against pajamas, anyway?

I am beginning to think of pajamas as a double-edged sword.  Don’t be fooled by their forgiving elastic waistbands or fluffy fleece softness.

I text W again.

Me: I’m leaving to adopt a cat now.

W: Okay.

Me: I named her Josie.

W: Awww.  I can’t wait to meet her.

Me: She’s very shy.

W: So maybe she’ll be hiding?

Me: Maybe, baby.

W: I wonder if I’ll ever see her.

Me: Who knows.

When I’m feeling out of sorts, I always get the urge to take in another cat.  I don’t know why.  However, this is better than other urges like cocaine and meth and having sex with the underage girl in the Catholic school uniform.

We have three cats, plus Josie, who is pretend, so I’m not sure if that counts as four or not.  Being that she’s imaginary and all.

P.S. She’s named after Josie from Josie and the Pussycats, if you haven’t already guessed.  The animated cartoon series — not the movie.

Hot, sweet, super-cool
Don’t you know
These kitties rule?

I just read Jenny Lawson’s bestselling book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  Jenny blogs as “The Bloggess,” if you didn’t know.  Anyway, the book is laugh-out-loud funny.  She writes extensively about her cats and constantly refers to them as “assholes.”

I’m not sure that our cats are assholes, though.  Don’t get me wrong.  They certainly can be at times.  But mostly they are odd and needy and neurotic and just not right in the head.

I guess they make me feel better about myself.  Or, maybe they’re just extensions of my own weirdness and neuroticism.

Anyway, they make me happy.  So does the fact that W humors me and lets me adopt as many invisible cats as I want.  I can’t ask for anything more.

I had better go see what Josie has gotten into now.

Josie …

Teen Mom and lesbian lovers behind bars!

I have a fascination with Teen Mom.

The MTV reality show.  Not actual teen moms.  That would be creepy.

I’m not sure why I like Teen Mom so much.  I’m about 30 years removed from 16 and pregnant. But it’s one of the few shows that I watch with any regularity.

On Teen Mom nights, I usually text W around lunch time.  “Teen Mom tonight!”  The exclamation point means I’m really excited.  In general, I am anti-exclamation point.  So, on those rare occasions when I use one, it conveys the appropriate amount of enthusiasm.

It’s like the boy who cried wolf.  This is a punctuation mark that you must use sparingly if you want to express the proper amount of excitement.

Thanks to me, W is hooked on Teen Mom.  “I hate you,” she tells me after each episode.

Every Tuesday during Teen Mom season, I’ll check Teen Mom News for the latest updates on the moms.

Here are some recent headlines:

“Jenelle and Kiefer break up again!” (Exclamation point in original.)

“Jenelle and Kiefer get back together again.”

“Farrah CONFIRMS she’s landed her own spin-off show!” (Caps and exclamation point in original.)

“Amber Portwood being protected by a woman named Sugarfoot in prison! (Exclamation point in original.)

Well played punctuation, Teen Mom News writer.  This last headline grabs my attention, even without the exclamation point.

According to Teen Mom News, Amber befriended a woman nicknamed Sugarfoot, who serves as her jailhouse “protector.”  Sugarfoot is apparently so smitten with Amber that she has gotten the young mom’s initials tattooed on her neck, TMN says.

I am fascinated with this mystery woman named Sugarfoot.   Questions abound.

What does she look like?   What does the nickname Sugarfoot signify?   Does she have a foot fetish?   Or maybe diabetes?  Gout?  How do you get a tattoo in prison?   Is there anything more ghetto than a neck tattoo?

Amber Portwood

I always joke with W that prison would be a vacation.  I could read all day long and work on my novel.  I would be buff after endless rounds of push-ups in my cell and weightlifting sessions in the yard.  Plus, you get three square meals a day and you don’t have to cook.  Sweet.

I tell W that I’ll need to take a lover in the joint to tide me over in between the conjugal visits.

I’ve watched The L Word.  I know all about prison sex.

Technically, I am one felony removed from Sugarfoot.

Recently, I stole a hotel butter knife to cut fudge that we bought on vacation.  I am crazy like that.  Like a fox.  And a crazy person.

I’ll need a better prison moniker, though.  Maybe Sugarlips or Sugarbear or Sugardyke.  Sugartop or Sugarpants.

Or something like Spike, Nailz, Raisin’ Pain or B-Butch.  Stevia.

Or, The Knife.

Why I have a crush on Dr. Robin Zasio from Hoarders

Dr. Robin Zasio

Tonight, W and I will be huddled around our TV watching the season premiere of A&E’s Hoarders.

Hoarders is a TV favorite of mine.

I started out with Clean House a few years back and soon moved up to the more heavy hitting Hoarders.  It’s like starting out drinking Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers and transitioning to Mad Dog 20/20 straight from the bottle.  Hoarders is Clean House on crack.  Sorry, Niecy Nash.

I find it inspiring watching real-life people turn their lives around.  If someone can clean up a doublewide loaded down with used Depends and petrified rat droppings in three days, why can’t I lose 30 pounds or write a short story or clean out my car?

Plus, it’s absolutely fascinating to see how some kind of trauma — a fire, a death, abuse — can cause someone to start collecting things like Chihuahuas or troll dolls.  The human brain is a strange place.

I also like Hoarders because the show features Dr. Robin Zasio, who is an angel of sorts much like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Every episode of Hoarders features two hoarding situations.  There’s always the basic hoarder, or level A hoarder, who maintains a house that is over-cluttered with run-of-the-mill things like paperwork, books, dishes, clothing.  These are incompetent hoarders who really aren’t all that great at hoarding.

At the other end of the spectrum are the hardcore hoarders, or level F hoarders.

(Note: This is my personal gradient hoarding scale based on U.S. bra cup sizes.  Small cup = small hoarding problem.  Larger cup = larger hoarding problem.  Scale can be adapted for almost every situation involving degrees or levels.)

Anyway, the hardcore hoarder might collect his own urine in Mountain Dew bottles or kitten carcasses or orphans from Vietnam.  Extreme hoarders typically have homes crawling with insects and rodents and riddled with toxic mold and bacteria.  Feces — fresh or petrified — is always involved in some capacity. You usually have to enter their residences by crawling through some type of primitive Chunnel system that might have been dug out by pet prairie dogs or Cambodian tunneling monkeys. These hoarders often face dire situations such as homelessness, institutionalization, illness.

Enter Dr. Robin Zasio.

Dr. Zasio tells viewers she specializes in “extreme” hoarding cases

In her voice over, Dr. Zasio informs the viewer that she is an expert in extreme hoarding.

The basic hoarders — or ineffectual hoarders — are assigned experts who are “extreme cleaners” or “professional organizers.”

Not so in extreme cases.  A&E calls on Dr. Zasio when a hoarder’s very life is at stake.

Dr. Zasio is just like the Avengers, but there is only one of her.

I find myself instantly calmed when Dr. Zasio appears on the screen.  She is gentle and soothing in voice and manner.  She can walk into a home filled with overflowing buckets of cow semen and vampire blood and not be phased.  “What do we have going on over here, Chester?” she might ask.

Certainly, Dr. Zasio with her long blonde locks and broad smile is easy on the eyes.  Not really my type though, as I prefer a fuller-figured woman with darker hair.  But I’m certain Dr. Zasio has a pleasant bedside manner.  And, I have to admit that the thought of sleeping with a psychologist is a bit thrilling.  You get free therapy.  Sweet.  And, she would be specially trained to use reverse psychology in bed.  Which is kind of hot.  “You don’t want me to do what?”

W thinks I am obsessed with Dr. Zasio because I find her comforting.  She knows that every little thing stresses me out, like when the kids leave wrappers on the floor in the TV room or the cat poops outside the litter box or I have to fold fitted sheets.

Mostly, I love Dr. Zasio because she is nonjudgmental.  She doesn’t think less of people because they use empty oatmeal cylinders for toilets or store dead cats in a freezer.

I don’t think Dr. Zasio would care that I need to lose a few pounds, dust the house or paint the front porch.  She wouldn’t laugh if I told her that I started a diet this morning but ate a box of Suzy Qs at 10 a.m. or that I have a fear of produce stands and people on stilts.

The world could use a whole lot more of Dr. Robin Zasio, if you ask me.

If you think about it, we’re really all just one tragedy away from hoarding our urine in two-liter plastic soda bottles.

Hey mister, I’m a sister

There’s a new casino that just opened up by our house.  When Groupon offered an overnight stay, a $50 dining credit and a $50 slot credit all for $99, I decided to take W away one Saturday this fall.

I am cheap.

I called the hotel to make the reservation.

Hotel guy: Casino resort.  How can I help you?

Me: I’d like to make a reservation.

Hotel guy: For the Radisson or the Tower?

Me: The Tower.

Hotel guy: Have you stayed with us before?

Me: No.

Hotel guy: Can I have your name?

Me: Ryan Thomas.  (This is not my real name.  This is a fictitious name used for illustrative purposes only.  However, my real name is similar to this example as my first name is a standard first name for a man as is my last name.)

Hotel guy: Mr. Thomas, are you with a group or is this part of a promotion?

The Mr. thing catches me off guard, even though this is the billionth time that this has happened.

Me: Yes, I have a Groupon.  (I deepen my voice to sound like, like, like … Thurston Howell III. This is me thinking on my feet.  Dammit!  I could have gone with Chuck Norris, or William Shatner or even Ronnie from Jersey Shore for crying out loud.  But Jim Fucking Backus?  Mr. Magoo?)

Hotel guy: I’m sorry Mr. Thomas.  You’ll have to call back between the hours of 8:00 and 4:30 to reserve a room for that promotion.

Me: I see.  (I want to add “my good man” but don’t.  I imagine myself wearing a captain’s hat and an ascot.  I feel stupid.  Like I’m talking into a coconut shell attached to a string instead of a cellphone.)

Hotel guy: Is there anything else that I can help you with Mr. Thomas?

Me: No, that’s all.  Thank you for your help, sir.  (Still channeling Mr. Howell.  And, wondering why Lady Gaga’s alter ego is Jo Calderone and Nicki Minaj’s alter-ego is Roman Zolanski and mine is Thurston Howell III, which is so much more than 50 shades less cool.)

So, yes, I’d rather usurp the voice of a 1960s TV sitcom character — and a pretty lame one at that — rather than correct the hotel guy.  What does this say about me?  That I watched way too much TV as a kid for one thing.

Also, I don’t like to make people feel uncomfortable because that makes me uncomfortable.

I call back the next day and reserve a room for October.  The receptionist calls me Ms. Thomas.

I hang up the phone.  I am looking forward to this night out even though it’s two months away.  I am so glad that I don’t have to show up wearing a yachting hat or a navy blazer with gold buttons.

Talk about uncomfortable.

Has anyone ever mistaken your gender?  Were you embarrassed or did you just laugh it off?