I Love New York – 33-29!

Tonight, the New York State Senate passed the bill allowing full GAY MARRIAGE in the state.  This is incredibly significant for equal civil rights, because the precedence set by this passage could pave the way for other states to pass the same legislation.

The bill was passed with provisions protecting religious organizations if they wished to not allow gay marriage, or to refuse couples from using their buildings and/or halls for such celebrations.  These provisions absolutely MAKE SENSE, because they are perfectly within their right to disallow such things under the proclivity of religious freedom.  The provisions greatly helped the bill to pass, and the bill passed with bi-partisan support.

It hit me earlier today that this historic vote falls as the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969 approaches.  That this event is taking place now, on the eve of that anniversary, in the same state where it occurred, is incredibly moving.

I created the above image just as the vote was taking place.  The moment it passed, it became my Facebook profile picture, and within minutes, many of my other friends started to use it as their picture.

Feel free to pass it around.  And proclaim your love for New York loud and proud!

Happy Pride, indeed!





Why I Love “Glee”

My friends, family and acquaintances will not be surprised by the confession I am about to make.  In fact, they’re probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about it.  But I’m going to talk about it anyway.

I love “Glee.”

There, I said it.

First of all, I can’t believe this show has only been on for one season.  It’s  become such a staple for me and my friends that I feel like it’s been on for years, not just mere months.

Second, when I look at the number of songs this cast has performed in its first season, it astounds me.  Never mind the fact that they are over-produced (a problem many people– myself included– have with the show); the fact that this cast has performed, in one form or another, 137 songs in its first season (a herculean feat for ANY group) makes me only further believe that they are THE hardest-working cast on TV right now… or of all time.

But that’s not why I love “Glee.”

I love the show because at its center are a cast of characters from which I can find a part of myself at any given time in my life.  And they all share the same common bond– the love of music.

Diversity in casting is fairly commonplace these days, but while some shows show diversity while still presenting “beautiful people,’ “Glee” went a step further.

“Glee” made it a point to showcase the outcasts: the kids who were the brunt of jokes and the recipients of teasing and sometimes torture by other kids.  The ones who look different, sound different, and sometimes even move different from everyone else.  Into that mix, it threw in some of the “cool kids” – the jocks, cheerleaders and otherwise “popular” ones who had higher places on the social hierarchy.  Would they co-exist and still create music together?  Or would they throw everything down the tubes?

In the season finale, we learned that everyone who joined the Glee club had grown considerably since the first episode– from students to teachers to counselors.  The revelations by each of the characters showed that the story we had been following had made a difference in each of their lives– and the difference that was made was due, for the most part, to the common bond they shared– music.

In each of these characters, I saw a part of myself– both when I was their age and today.  I found myself relating most to, of course, Kurt– for his awkwardness and self-discovery; and to Tina for her shyness and newfound ability to make friends.  I also related to Artie, who, although he is wheelchair-bound, never lets that be a barrier.  Will Scheuster’s starry-eyed hopefulness was familiar, as I have often found myself to feel that way about situations– only to be disappointed in the end.  That’s not being Debbie-Downerish– that’s just being real.  Not everything is bright and shiny and wonderful.  And Will’s discovery throughout this show’s first season proved that.

Then there’s Sue Sylvester– the snarky, vicious, hell-driven antagonist.  There were times I thought the character was a bit too much– but there was always a method to her madness.  Sue could have been a completely one-dimensional character, but the writers didn’t let that happen.  I always hoped we’d see her other side, and the episode where she visited her sister with Down Syndrome did just that, and beautifully.  And in that moment, the caricature that we had seen since day one was crumbled.  Sue has a heart.  Everyone has a heart– we just don’t always show it.

Of course, the show is not perfect.  There were some major clunker episodes in the course of the first season, and a few times where the fantasy aspect of the show got way out of hand.  I’d love to see a touch more realism in the next season– but not TOO much.  The fantasy aspect of the show is what makes it fun.  After all, it’s not just a comedy or a drama– it’s a MUSICAL comedy-drama.  A MuDramEdy.  I just coined a phrase.

So now the show is done and us “Gleeks” are left to watch our DVDs and listen to our soundtrack MP3s until the fall.  Will the anticipation of Season 2 pay off?  I hope so.  Until then, I’ll relive some of the best moments and enjoy my summer.

What were some of your favorite moments of the first season of “Glee”?  What were some moments you wish had gone a bit better?

Happy 10th Birthday, Pippin!

Pippin and clock - 7weeks

In honor of Pippin’s 10th birthday, I thought it’d be fun to share a “Top 10” list of little-known Pippin facts.  Facts about my cat, not the Broadway show.

  1. Pippin was adopted from a girl I worked with at Crate & Barrel.  She put up a sign in the stockroom advertising “Gray Kittens.” She was asking $10 for each kitten, but I don’t think I ever paid her.
  2. Pippin has moved with me three times.
  3. Pippin and I spent the first few months alone, and then when we moved to Andersonville with Jason and Chad in July of 2000, he encountered his first roommate, Kiki.  I discovered that Pippin does much better living with a roommate.
  4. Pippin has 8 of his 9 lives.  He spent one when he fell out of our third floor porch window one night in 2000, which led to a frantic search for him all throughout the neighborhood.  I found him in front of the building, trying to claw himself into a basement window.
  5. Pippin met his now-brother, Screech, in May of 2001.  They’ve been inseparable ever since.
  6. Pippin 7 WeeksPippin was named after the 1971 musical, “Pippin,” by Stephen Schwartz.
  7. Pippin is definitely a Tabby, but more than one person has mentioned they can see Abyssinian in him as well.
  8. Pippin is a small cat, especially when compared to his younger, but much bigger, brother. I often wonder if he was the runt of the litter.
  9. Pippin is extremely cuddly and affectionate, but of my two boys he is absolutely the scoundrel.  If there is food within reach, Pippin will find it.
  10. When I adopted Pippin he was only 7 weeks old.  I estimated his birthday to be February 17 since I adopted him on May 17, 2000.  Adopting Pippin was one of the best things I ever did.  He’s brought me so much joy and love.  I can’t imagine not having a pet now.  These 10 years have gone by so fast… I hope we have 10 more in our future.  Happy Birthday, Pippin!

Pippin at Christmas 2009

With a Whoosh and a Schuss!

Even though I have spent 39 years of my life in the Midwest of the United States of America, most of those years in Wisconsin, I have never gone skiing.

Until now.

This weekend I am making the trek up to my home state with a group of my friends to purposely hurtle myself down a mountainside and hope to heaven that I don’t end up crushed in a pile at the bottom.

Now of course, I’m not going to be stupid about it.  I’m going to take lessons and start on the proverbial “Bunny Hill,” or whatever they call it at Alpine Valley Ski Resort.  And I can pretty well guess that the “mountain” at Alpine Valley will look nothing like the photo at right, with jagged cliffs and deep gorges.

Still, I’m a tad nervous.

And I won’t be alone, either.  There are a bunch of us in the group who have never skied before, so at least I won’t be the only one learning how not to break my nose.

But if I come back in a complete body cast, you’ll know why.

Heaven help me.

Justice Served

One of my last posts on my blog before it was shut down and subsequently moved here told the story of the break-in that occurred in July, where someone stole my computer and camera and ransacked my apartment.  Back then, it seemed highly unlikely they would ever find who did it, and certainly unlikely they would ever find my things that were taken.

I’m happy to report that at least 1/2 of that scenario proved to work out for the best.  I got a call in about mid-October from the detective who said they caught the guy and arrested him based on the fingerprints they found on my window.  Upon his arrest, they questioned him about my break-in and many others in the area, and he admitted to many of them, including mine.  I’m not sure of the tactics they used to get that admission, but it didn’t matter to me.

The detective told me the guy’s name, and of course I didn’t know who he was… but of course upon hearing his name I built this profile of what he looked like, what he acted like, and who he was.  Call it what you want– I think everyone does it.  We immediately assume that someone who does something like this is a big, mean-looking guy, maybe in his mid-20s or 30s, and strung out on drugs or booze or whatever.  I was afraid to see him; afraid to face him, because I didn’t know what the outcome would be if I did testify; and I sure as heck didn’t want some big ol’ moose knowing my name and address and coming after me if he was set free.

The detective also told me they were having a hearing in Municipal Court to determine if they had enough evidence to prosecute him.  I was asked to testify against him, where I needed to say simply that (A) I did not know him – I didn’t; (B) I did not give him permission to enter my apartment – I didn’t; and (C) I did not know anyone who would give him permission to do so – I didn’t.  After a few days of deciding if I wanted to go through with all this, I decided it was worth it, and made plans to attend the hearing.

On the day of the hearing, they called the guy into the courtroom.  He was in jail, so they brought him in from a rear entrance.  I kept hearing this tinkling sound that I think was the keys they used to unlock the door, but to me they sounded like chains.  I don’t know why that affected me so much, but it gave me a chill.

Then they brought the guy out, and I was shocked to see that he was this scrawny kid; maybe 5’7″ at the tallest.  They brought him before the judge, and he asked him his name and age.

He was 17 years old.

I never expected the reaction I had.  It wasn’t anger or disdain, and it wasn’t hatred toward him.  It was actually forgiveness.  Yes, I wanted him to pay for what he did to me– and, as it turned out, to many others– but I also realized that I had to forgive him for doing it.

I looked at his face, and I saw an emotionless, empty soul.  He looked lost and forgotten.  There was no family in the courtroom to support him; no friends or any support system whatsoever.  The kid was alone.

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal or a compassionate wimp; but I felt sorry for the kid.

I answered the questions that were asked of me and went into another room while the Detective gave his answers.  After a while, the attorney returned to the room and told me that they were proceeding with his case — the judge felt they had enough evidence.  So I left.

Walking out of the courthouse, I felt mixed emotions– a slight sense of vindication, but then a sense of sadness.  I didn’t know what would come next for this kid, but surely his life is forever changed because of it.  Whether that has any type of good effect on him or not remains to be seen… but I played a part in what will happen to him.

In any case, he won’t be on the streets anymore, and I can live my life a little better knowing that.

Now I just have to replace some of my missing things!