The Might of the Snowflake

“Snowflake” has become the conservative anthem. Hurled frequent and loud to the modern-day liberal as an insult, it’s popularity grew in 2016 and like a broken record, it repeats on an endless loop, filling the bellies of the parties bottom-dwelling trolls with endless joy. I am not entirely sure who is due credit for coining the term, though like most conservative ideas, I assume it caught fire by being showcased on the Fox Network at some point, either by an anchor or guest, but more than likely both. And like the good parrots they are, it became one of ten words solidified in the Trumpster’s dictionary, right next to Benghazi, emails, and Lyin’ Ted.

Not exclusively used to reference the millennial movement any longer, even party leaders are subject to low-brow taunt.

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Ah yes, we get it, snowflakes are delicate and easily destroyed, zing, Wayne Dupree! And for many Trumpsters, the irony is completely lost on them that they recite endlessly about the weakness of the left but then want to stockpile guns, thinks ISIS is everywhere and are afraid of Muslim’s, even the babies coming into the country seeking desperately needed medical treatment. I’m not saying that all conservatives feel this way, I happen to know a lot of conservatives who are decent people and they tend to be the kind to engage in meaningful discussions and avoid the pettiness displayed by the conservative types who slum low and address people as Libtards.  I mean, the tweeter above seems to think he deserves a slow clap for saving America? Give me a break!

All this slandering rhetoric does is light a fire in the heart of the liberals. They are uniting and mobilizing, fighting for civil rights and against authoritarianism and a rigged political system. And as their voices unit, they as a whole grown stronger everyday. So, call them snowflakes if you must, but keep in mind when a whole lot of snowflakes amass and move rapidly in one direction – that’s called a fucking avalanche.

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Word to the wise – don’t underestimate the might of a Snowflake.

Dating, Noah style

Between settling into a new career, planning my upcoming nuptials and slowing taking another swing at my novel, I’ve been off the bloggy multiverse for a bit. I recently found myself in a fun discussion about dating – one that was generated by a cheesy “ain’t that just typical” pun about single men that I found HIGHlarious, but in reality was actually met with a blank stare and perhaps the sound of crickets by my audience of one. It took a slight jogging of my memory before I realized that, said conversation companion, had been in only one relationship since high school and didn’t have the entire Mencyclopedia Britannica it seems every single female in L.A. claims to have authored.

Silly me, since moving to Georgia, “this isn’t California anymore, Toto” seems to be my mantra.

As a seasoned, professional dater with 29 years experience (less the first 16, unless you count practice kissing with my pillows), it seems that I may just be somewhat of an authority on the matter. I mean, at the very least if we are using the same standards of “authority” say a show like Married At First Sight uses when they pick their “matchmaking experts,” that are little more than new-wave hippies parading around like psychotherapists (I’m sure you didn’t get your “sexology” degree from Harvard, buddy). So yeah, I guess I can call myself a bit of an expert on the matter. By the time I was done covering the basics of modern-day passive communication styles, sexpectations and  the disturbing rise in ghosting techniques, I had amassed a few more participants in the conversation.

A pretty fair suggestion emerged that this perspective was likely due to the type of man whom I had dated in the past. As I sat there and thought about it, I concluded that I didn’t actually have “a type” at all. Spinning through the rolodex of former suitors, I could see a wide range of everything from race, background, income, physical qualities, it was all over the place. And then it hit me, I was the Noah’s Ark of dating, I think I have dated two of every kind!  And no, not in the slutty way, as a matter of fact I was most adamant about one thing, if you are dating someone and don’t sleep with them after three dates, there was a 90% chance you would never hear from them again. In my experience, a guy who thinks you’re just okay is willing to put up with you for a max of three dates before they move on, to which I will raise a glass and toast to not having any precious time in my 20’s wasted by the ill-intentioned. Nope, I wasn’t going to be fooled by any husk pretending to be boyfriend material, if I was going to make lousy decisions I would do it willfully, with two eyes open and a middle finger pointed straight up to the air. Yep, my mistakes were my own and I love the fact that I was able to share little moments of my life with such a variety of people. I like to think about all the evening’s of deep conversation, good music and laughs and about the ones that got away, but mostly, I love to think about the one that decided to stay.

Being single was two sides of a coin, there were ups and downs but when it comes to my personal chronicals of dating and knowing how it led me to the path I travel today, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Who is the Donald Trump Supporter?

I wake up this morning and flip the television to CNN, it’s of zero shock that they are doing a live spot on Donald Trump. In the background is the most mundane shot of people being handed signs and slowly filtering into the facility several hours in advance of the event. Much like a Black Sabbath concert ticket going on sale at 6am, the one thing you won’t see at the break of dawn at a will-be Trump rally is a person of color.

Let me make it clear, Trump scares the shit out of me. I’m a native of Michigan, whose primary just recently passed, and I think the most frightening post I’ve ever read was shared by an extended family member. This was not just some Trump bashing write up with the primary goal of going viral first and perhaps sending a message second, this was the true story of a Facebook friend of a friend – someone I could theoretically link up with in real life – and perhaps, that is what made the message so strong.  Basically, two girls went to a Trump rally and just happened to be wearing some Feel the Bern hats, and though there were many people who attended that particular event to be disruptive and cause a scene, these two girls stood and listened without saying a word. At some point when disrupters were being tossed out left and right, the crowd begin to hype up and some aggressive Young Republicans began to point and scream at the girls to “GET THEM OUT.” The girls were quickly being forced out by Trumps hired security thugs and the girls explained that they weren’t doing anything and they had the right to be there. “Nope, not here” they told the girls as they were jeered all the way out the door.  The sheer fact that Trump incites such hate into these crowds and that a person can be ejected simply for wearing unapproved clothing should terrify everyone.

So who are these Trump supporters? The old white people funneling into the Ohio event this morning look harmless enough. I kept asking myself what they were so pissed about. Then, I thought about what would be playing on CNN if they weren’t busy covering Trump-aganda 24 hours a day. And I realized they would be playing the same thing they had been covering for two years solid before Trump jumped into the Republican clown car – racism in america. Well, perhaps that is putting in politely, I believe maybe when the coverage started, the goal was to cover racism in america, but just like Trump-a-palooza, what was intended to be coverage of facts presented with professionalism, slowly evolved into an open platform for biased zealots to lecture white people on just how awful and racist they all are. Thank god I don’t have to sit through that, I thought, and the lightbulb turned on.

Look, I grew up in Detroit, I currently live in Atlanta and I was one of a few dozen white kids in my tech school, I am no stranger to black culture. I really did grow up with no consideration that the color of someones skin meant anything at all. And even though it’s natural as you get older to recognize and perhaps even judge cultural patterns – Asians and women don’t drive well, blondes are dumb, etc. these are just stereotypes. I like smart, thoughtful people and hate dumb assholes, regardless of the flesh that covers their bones.

One of the shows I loved to watch was Dr. Drew on HLN, it came on right after Nancy Grace and typically contained thoughtful conversation from a clinical perspective, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I was forced to tune out about a year ago. I simply couldn’t take it anymore, like their parent company CNN, they spent almost every episode during a one year period focusing on racism. And racism is a terrible thing and to label someone a racist use to hold a lot of weight because by definition, a racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. That’s right, a word that should be reserved for only those who embrace supremacy has been so badly distorted by use that it has become akin to being labeled a poser in the 1980’s.

My Dr. Drew days came to an end pretty much the moment when someone pointed out that racism isn’t culturally exclusive and fanatical lawyer, Areva Martin concluded (not suggested) that only white’s can be considered racist because they are the majority race, it’s not possible for blacks or any other race to be a racist because they will never be in power. Did I mention this woman graduated from Harvard (well if I didn’t just watch 12 seconds of a clip and I am sure she will make mention).  But seriously, how is this person on air every single night? And perhaps if it were exclusive to just one person, I could deal with it – but that was not the case. The deck was stacked with people taking fanciful leaps and presenting them as fact and this was by no means exclusive to this one show or one network.

All of a sudden, there was an influx of this definition warping and it had taken over the airwaves without a second thought. I am as left as left can be, I am aware there is a disproportionate amount of black males in prison, I understand police brutality is a real thing and support finding peaceful and lawful ways to enact change. But based on the media’s coverage, it was no longer socially acceptable to cast any doubt over any scenario where a black man was killed by a police officer. Can’t a person wait to hear the facts of a situation before drawing conclusions, is it really so terrible to have faith in a justice system and a grand jury of 12 local citizens deciding whether or not a crime was committed? Are you a racist if you don’t automatically assume everything is a conspiracy? The people they allowed on the tv, and therefore into our homes would have you think so. It was so clear that the lines of reasonable thinking got muddied and yet nobody was there to stop the run-away train.

So, I turned off my tv, and exited the conversation. And yeah, the fact I can do that is white privilege. But, it was what I had to do because I felt myself start to get angry and I had to get out before I misplaced it anywhere besides where it belonged – at the media.  And all I can think of right now as I watch the Trump rally coverage is that perhaps these people didn’t turn it off.

I don’t actually know who they are, these insane people who support an actual racist bigot and dare to put their hands on another, but I do know they are not my kind of people.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts… till now

I was actually really geeking out when rumors were flying last year that they were thinking about doing an all female Ghostbusters. This coincided with a period of time when I had been developing a lot of my own writing, so I actually sat down one day and thought through what I would do with the plot if I were in charge.

So, today was the day I had been anxiously awaiting, they dropped the first Ghostbusters trailer and I wanted to see if it was anything like I had thought or perhaps something even better. It is not. Not even close… not even funny. And this criticism is coming from a girl who loves all four of those actresses, including Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. I still watch SNL once in a while, even though the only “cool thing” to do is bash it mercilessly and squawk about how it hasn’t been funny since Belushi died (insert world’s largest eye roll). But, sorry – not even I can find a way to defend that hot steaming pile of trailer that made my eyes burn.  Was it really that bad? I watched it twice – dear gawd yes. So, many questions bounced around my head – why are they doing a reboot and not a stand alone? Could they be saving all the funny stuff for the movie? Did they forget to watch the original film and design the new ghosts after the ecto-cooler drink logo?

Anyway, in an effort to wash the gross out of my mind, and because I think it would be fun,  I’m going to share a quick version of what I had outlined more than a year ago:

———-

Ghostbusters headquarters is 30 years older and falling to pieces, and so is it’s last remaining inhabitant, Dr. Raymond Stantz. The much rounder and grayer Ghostbuster does an interview with the local news about selling the building and contents, he admits he will be retiring to florida since there isn’t much use for a Ghostbusting business after they were phased out by a phone app.

Eventually, it’s purchased by a group of three super nerdy women in their late 30’s (led by a liz lemon type), they set out to restore the building to it’s former glory and turn it into a museum.

At the celebrity filled party for the inauguration of the museum, a careless waiter pops a bottle of champagne and the cork smashes through the glass peep hole of one of the containment units. An initial gasp comes across the crowd, but our liz lemon type assures everyone there is nothing to worry about since these units have been clear for years. She couldn’t be more wrong and a ghost emerges from the unit and begins to wreak havoc. People scream and try to open their Ghostbusting apps, but their cell phones can’t generate service.

Across the city, all of the ghosts people had previously been scaring away with their apps are reclaiming their space due to the large scale phone outage (quick homage to the original GB montage).

Taken in by the law, the women are told as the new owners of the facility, they are to be held accountable for everything and had better fix it. Without any working phones to contact any of the actual Ghostbusters, the three women go to visit the one person they know is left in New York City who might be able to help them. They tap lightly on an old rusted apartment door.

“Whaddya want?” A sassy Janine says. After hearing their plight and initially slamming the door in their faces, Janine reluctantly agrees to help them. They gather intel and equipment back at HQ, and figure out how to stop the ghost. They suit up and Janine takes her rightful place as Ghostbuster number 4. Hijinks ensue as the novice group try to locate and take down the frequency disturbing ghost – and they eventually get the job done.

Back at HQ, Janine shows the girls how to store the ghosts properly. The phone is ringing off the hook, people are calling in – no longer confident their phone apps will keep ghosts at bay they need the Ghostbusters to trap them for good. With a growing confidence among the younger team, they decide it’s fate to reopen the business. Janine says she’s too old for this crap though and takes off her uniform, while the other girls gear up to head out again. Our Liz Lemon leader says they will need some help cover the phones for a bit. Janine rolls her eyes and turns away, we secretly see she is giddy when she slides into her old desk, looking exactly the way it had in 1984. The phone rings again.

“Ghostbusters whaddya want?” Janine shouts into the phone.

Fade to black.

———

Sure, it’s not a prize winner, but I spent all of 20 minutes on it and think it’s far more relatable then that very odd trailer. I could be wrong, but that is where my gut stands as of now.

I’d love to hear what you think about the trailer and what you hope to see in the reboot. After all, there is always HOPE.

Bride(r) Beware!

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Over the holidays I got engaged! It’s been a totally exciting time in my life and since I’ve had some down time, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research for my Spring 2017 wedding. Having over 10 years experience working logistics in Reality TV, I am lucky enough to possess an extensive knowledge about these types of events. Because of my work, I have actually planned both a wedding and a surprise vowel renewal ceremony from soup to nuts. Besides this, I regularly book catering for crews of 60-120, rent tents, tables, chairs, event space, etc. So, I really consider myself in the know about these things. I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I began to surf the web and realized there seems to be some sort of collective understanding by vendors to price gouge as much as possible for all things wedding related.

In my opinion, the most heinous offense was an article written on Every Last Detail about why you shouldn’t negotiate with wedding vendors, and it in the author said that negotiation feels dirty and is in fact, the same as having your boss demand a portion of your next paycheck. WTH?

The article left me dumbfounded and with a bunch of questions – who is stupid enough to believe this and seriously who is stupid enough to write this?  That is when I discovered that the site is Edited by a wedding planner. Ah, yes – this type of advice would serve very beneficial to her, but the absolute worst part is there were tons of comments left from vendors backing up the insane claim, saying they would simply walk away from anyone who is  difficult enough to try to negotiate prices – and on the flip side, suggestible brides were thanking this dumb website for it’s awful advice. A simple google search confirms there is a “wedding” cost surplus of around 25-35% that vendors charge – well, just cause they can. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is good old fashioned sexism, sitting here alive and well and instead of someone calling out this disgusting practice for what it is, here is an article suggesting women lay down and take it while they get ripped off! The fury inside me began to grow, someone on here needed to speak the truth to these poor misguided women. I took a deep breath and I left the following comment:

Oh PLEASE tell me this is a joke! Look, I’ve got 10+ years working logistics in television, which makes me in the know on all things event related – catering, event space, rentals, etc. Negotiation is how smart business is done in America and any business that is “offended,” is run by a fool.

We already live in a world where goods marketed towards women typically cost 20% more then the male or unisex counterparts and It makes me furious to know that the wedding industry takes this way farther in the hopes that silly women will pay just about anything to get what they want. Do us all a favor and stop perpetuating this type of sexism. And I see all these vendors here yelling hooray cause it’s a good message to help line their pockets – but seriously, let me give you some real insight for a moment:

Stills photographers who I hire to come on set for a few hours to take official behinds the scenes make about $300-$400 flat- these are the same guys who shoot official pictures for pro sports. Now, knowing this I would like to tell you about a Production Assistant (this is the lowest entry level position on a show) I once hired who was a “wedding photographer” on weekends. This kid barely had the skills to carry our cameras from the trucks indoors – there is no way we would ever let him shoot one – and yet, somehow even with a vastly unimpressive website (in my professional opinion) he was able to dupe brides into paying anywhere from 2-4k for him and 2 of his other PA buddies to shoot a wedding. Of course, it would take them months to deliver prints because they had to sub out the retouching because they don’t have a clue how to do it themselves. He told me those were the competitive rates and if he asked for less it would scare brides off. SERIOUSLY? Same goes for catering – I get world class meals (choice of 2 proteins, veggies, and a starch) served buffet style in fancy chaffing dishes for $25 per person. Sure, it may be worth it to double that price if you want to serve filet and lobster but certainly not if you are sticking with chicken and fish. Please brides, come to your senses here.

You should always ALWAYS always get as many bids from as many vendors as possible. I wouldn’t even mention a wedding when touching base – tell them you need an estimate on a family event with x amount of people and see what they come in at when they are not trying to gouge you because you dropped the “wedding” word.

I really hope this author decides to wake up in this century some time soon. Please do not take her horrendous advice.

And there it sat for days on end “waiting for moderation,” while other comments on different articles around the same time were getting approved. Seems pretty clear to me what is going on here. So Brides, if there are any of you out there, for the love of all things – PLEASE do not let this type of internet garbage persuade you to overspend because you are afraid to hurt a vendors feelings. You accepting any price that is placed in front of you makes it harder for the next person in line who may not be able to afford an unfair 35% price hike. Vendors want to take advantage of you and this is a capitalistic society, so they have the right to try, but you have the right to demand fair pricing and be prepared to walk away if they won’t give it to you.  Use common sense, if your caterer pulls together a menu that looks and tastes like Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat pasta bar, but costs $65 a plate, it’s time to move on.

Personally, I decided for me there was no reason to go into long term debt for a one day event. My wedding will have all the bells and whistles, but by using some creative thinking and my negotiation skills, will only cost about half the national average. I’d much rather use that money down the road to invest in a home to grow a family in. It’s up to you what you want to do, but I decided to look beyond my wedding event and not forget the bigger picture – no matter where we are, I know I will have my friends and family at my side when I exchange vows with my best friend – and that’s a beautiful picture indeed.

 

******

Update 2/23/16 – I decided to try and post a more tame response to the above mentioned article under a different registered user on February 15th, 2016.

There is no reason why you should not negotiate with vendors. I’ve seen from 35%-300% markups on products and services for no other reason then it is for a wedding. For example, there is a website offering private event DJ services $250/4 hours. The wedding price is $600/4 hrs with no additional personnel or equipment included. Why? Well, because they have found out that people will pay for it no questions asked.

Asking vendors for the best deal possible and then comparing bids is the american way. This is Capitalism, companies can charge anything they want for a service (especially weddings) and consumers have the right to go with whomever offers them the best deal. This is how it works, there is nothing offensive about it. Don’t go into even more debt for a one day event because you were too afraid to ask for a better deal.

and that too is still sitting there waiting to be “moderated.” Therefore, I’ve determined you shouldn’t trust ANYTHING on the website everylastdetail.com

 

Man·pology

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 6.56.10 PMI have to take a short trip up onto my soapbox for a moment. You see, it drives me nuts, I mean absolutely insane when other people do the sorry/not sorry type of apologizing that people are just starting to catch on to. You know the ones I’m talking about, they usually start with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That specific set of words that come in when what you really want to do is place blame on the other person and take no responsibility for your own actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used that tactic many-a-time, and I’ve always meant it just like that. I’ve got a straight-forward, blunt type personality and it works well for me, but I also understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So, there are times when I’ve said something that’s an ugly truth out loud and this may be upsetting, but none the less, it’s still true. So for that, you have definitely earned no more than a “I’m sorry you feel that way.” On the flip side, there have been times when I have actually misspoken and managed to string together a set of words which can easily be interpreted in a way that delivers a punch I never meant to throw. And for that, my mistake, I will wholeheartedly deliver a “I’m so sorry for what I said, I didn’t mean any harm, but I can see how my words caused some.” It seems to me that there are only two steps to delivering an apology, and they are as follows:

  1. Identify what the action or words were that upset someone
  2. Deliver the appropriate corresponding type of apology

You would think that this was pretty cut-and-dry, but then we have to bring the dreaded Manpology into the mix. I’ve dated a lot of different men – all types – from varying ages, education levels and ethnicity, and it seems to me that the one thing they all have in common is their inherent knowledge of Manpologizing. In the past, I have often referred to this as a Marytr’s apology, but at some point, someone brought to my attention that this could be offensive to some, in which case I will tell those offended parties, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

The Manpology is typically delivered with just a hint of aggression, usually in short snippets of repetitive “sorry,” for which the deliverer makes it abundantly clear he has no clue what he is apologizing for and usually throws in some variant of “I can’t do anything right.” And there it is, the blame is thrown right back on you, because now the alleged offender is suggesting they are really no more than a victim of circumstances beyond their control or of unrealistic expectations of a crazy woman. Don’t get me wrong, there are some ladies out there who are way out of line, and if you find yourself with a woman who is too demanding, then by all means – break up with her. But, the Manpology seems to make an appearance all the time – from the minute situation to even more offensive act of infidelity. And then, when this “I’m sorry/yet I refuse to admit anything is my fault” type of apologetic defense comes into play, the woman responds wildly, thus seemingly proving the crazy woman claim that goes hand-in-hand with the Manpology.

And you shouldn’t necessarily blame the woman for having such an adverse reaction (just see the second sentence of this blog), but men know this is the easiest way to get to a stalemate. A simple “Look how crazy you are right now” can stop a woman in her tracks and men know it. And thus, the Manpology has been perfected and passed down to the bearers of penises for generations. I love men endlessly, but this behavior has got to stop.

So ladies, now that you know the symptoms, I urge you to keep your cool and accept obscure apologies no more. If we all work together, we can revoke the intangible Manpology cards in our households and it will soon be a fad of the past! I will leave you with the the words of great G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.

 

Putting my wand away

Since I decided to step away from my 80+ hour a week production job, I’ve had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to market myself and my skills. It’s actually incredibly difficult to translate what working as a Production Manager has really meant, though I gave a good swing at it in my previous posting, Whats it like working in reality tv. One thing that is a little bit easier to disseminate is the skills I picked up along the way. By far, I think my greatest skill lies in the thing that I see so often lacking in professions I encounter on a daily basis, and that is foresight.

The beauty/curse of working in an industry where people can toss around literally any idea in the world – “We need to figure out how to get cell service on that mountain in the middle of nowhere” or “We picture them on a deep sea diving date looking for actual pirate treasure, so let’s find a place like that and figure out how to shoot it,” is that I am usually the one in charge of the actual figuring. And boy, did I get good at it. I like to say that I can become an expert on just about anything in less than a day. The key element to making this magic happen is having no shame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tracked people and businesses down from Google and said “I know this sounds a little bit crazy but I have no clue how to do this so can you help me or do you know somebody who can?” I was always incredibly surprised how helpful perfect strangers can be.

Of course, there were many times when due to the workload and limited access to the idea makers, you are only given pieces of instruction, usually in the form of a an incredibly ambiguous email. These are the moments when you feel like you have fallen off a cruise ship and despite standing right next to the rescue tubes, people keep throwing down pieces of wood, expecting you to be able to build your own boat. Early on in my career, I would flail – doing exactly what was being asked of me, even when I knew something about it seemed really off. Later on in my career, I figured out that the best way to stay ahead of these things was to set up shop on the nearest life raft the second I stepped foot onto the cruise ship.  I began to insert myself early on into matters that didn’t necessarily concern me yet, but this is where I would learn about who these idea makers were, what they hoped to accomplish, their timetables and their style of getting things done. That way, not only could I think inside and outside the box, I could see the whole piece of paper the box was drawn on. I loved being a few steps ahead, and just for a small amount of effort, it was a total win-win for everyone.

I once hired a woman who ran her own live event business to be my coordinator for a few weeks on a show. She told me she didn’t know how I managed to keep it all together because there was so much more going on then she would have ever anticipated. I was sort of shocked and delighted to hear this compliment coming from someone who has headed up large scale parades. I really thought that once I left LA, I would have a world of opportunity, I would be able to test the waters in a few different fields until I found something I liked.

One cross-country move and thousands of resume submissions later, I can tell you -this has not been the case. Only once I dulled my resume down to a more cookie cutter look and downplayed my television past did I even get a few calls. It’s sort of sad, but now I know that I must hide my wand – my ability to make magic and the thing I spent 10 grueling years working tirelessly to perfect. It feels like the death of an era for me. But hopefully, one day down the road I just might find the right reason to dust that wand off again.