Sunday, August 31, 2008

AV: Aha!

Just found this while surfing around the LA Times website: the latest of Sarah. See anything different?

(please scroll down and read my immediately previous post for info on what I'm talking about)

AV: The Last 8 Years in a Nutshell

From a story in the LA Times this morning about Sarah Palin (which, by the way, was extraordinarily objective and even complimentary, lest anyone out there in bloggyland question the message because of the messenger) -- emphasis mine:

French said he thinks that Palin has a "sort of Reaganesque, kind of Teflon quality," due to her charm and "force of personality."

Indeed, Halcro said, those qualities meant that debating Palin was an exercise in frustration. The day after a debate in Fairbanks, they found themselves in conversation at a breakfast in Anchorage.

"She said, 'You know, I go to these debates, and I'm just amazed at your grasp of issues and facts. You show up with no notecards; you just kind of spurt it out. But I look out over the audience, and I wonder: Is that really important?' " Halcro said. "And you know, I'm a policy guy, and I'm thinking, 'Yeah.' But people didn't care. She has a way of walking in a room and filling the room with her presence, so people suddenly forget about their concerns about healthcare or education or anything else."


So there ya go, sports fans.

Oh, a prediction, when Joe Biden takes game to her during a debate, he gets socked in the mouth by the McCain campaign. They're already floating spin about how he's likely to be "ungentlemanly." I think he should take it to her like she's any other candidate and if she can't keep up, he can - respectfully - leave her far far behind sputtering.

Also, the "school marm" look she says she cultivated to escape the beauty queen image? A friend of mine think she's already with Cindy McCain's personal shopper. Look for great shoes, softer hair, new (or NO) glasses, and of course ... pearls. Of course, he's a sucker for pearls and good shoes.

I'm willing to be wrong about that last bit. And I hope Biden is a gentleman every time he slam dunks a question and makes it apparent she's got no business out of Alaska.

AV: Phyllis Schafly Is A Woman Too

So, wondering what I think? I'll bet you already know.

I think that the choice of Sarah Palin was a desperate attempt to sway supposedly disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters towards the GOP ticket.

How sad.

How is this any better than being asked to join some group because they need some "diversity" at the table? How many of you have been the single woman, lesbian, latina, jew, etc etc etc in a situation like that? Did you feel special? Maybe. Did you feel used? Maybe. Did you begin to feel as if your authenticity as a person wasn't exactly what was wanted? Think about it, won't you?

Would Sarah Palin be on the ticket if she didn't have a vagina? Dollars to Oil Pipelines she wouldn't be. And that's just bullshit, IMHO.

I considered launching into her deplorable politics and the fact (that no one could possibly miss) that she is NO Hillary Clinton. Her politics are spoiled-wilderness miles to the right of Senator Clinton's and she hasn't got a nano-second of experience even on the phone with the Congress, let alone the folks who happen to be in charge of the countries whose policies include screwing with us as a nation.

Yeah, she's a mom ... and a good one at that. Great. She's got some drive and competitive spirit. Great. I love that. She's willing to speak a little truth to power and what's not to like about that?

But she's the former mayor of a town of 6000, and the Governor of a state whose population isn't even half of California, AND less than two years into her first term in state elected office, she's under investigation for firing the guy who wouldn't fire her former brother-in-law (during his nasty divorce from her sister).

Geez. And THAT'S supposed to make Hillary supporters pick up the torch? I've spoken to more than one who have picked up the companion pitchfork as well. It's an ugly mob, sisters.

Again, it's just sad to me. It's a token that the GOP will parade as change. Sure, it's a woman, and no matter who takes the prize, it'll be a first. But just because it's a woman, doesn't mean it's a change. See the subject line of my post.

And besides, did Elizabeth Dole have something BETTER to do? Did they even bother asking?

Friday, August 29, 2008

HC: Why I'm Glad It's a Woman

With the United States next election, history will be made. Either a black man will be president, or a woman will be vice president. After 230 years, our country will no longer be helmed by white men.

That is progress. 

I'm hoping that whichever party wins, the glass ceiling is finally and forever broken.

WC: Why I'm Glad It's a Woman

Just had a conversation with a friend that made me realize I should probably explain why I'm glad McCain's choice for VP is a woman.

Years ago, when I was coming out of the closet, my good friend Dennis (now gone 13 years sadly) mentored me in the process. And he said something (well, many things) that really stayed with me:

We're not fighting for the best of us to have the opportunities other people do--we're fighting for mediocre gays to have the same opportunities as mediocre straights.

Similarly, although I hate the fact that some women (gays, blacks, Jews) are republicans, I cherish that an asshole female republican can maybe have the same opportunities as an asshole male republican.

Women's political clout has definitely grown in this election cycle. McCain's choice may be a cynical attempt to entice disaffected Hillary voters (may they not be that moronic!), but how nice that women are now a group to suck up to.

I swear, it's a form of progress.

(Dem Club Pres AV: I'd love to hear your take on all this.)

WC: Okay, I Admit It

I'm very pleased that McCain picked a woman for his VP nominee. I hope they lose. I hope they are completely humiliated on election day. But, still, it's kinda cool it's a woman.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WC: My First Movie (Well, My First Movie Not Related to a Medical Condition)

A few weeks ago, I spent a very fascinating few days watching a movie being made of a script I wrote. But we need to start with a flashback:

About four years ago, my short play You Look Just Like Him was performed at the Estrogenius Festival at the Manhattan Theatre Source in New York. The story of a young man meeting his biological mother for the first time, You Look Just Like Him is my favorite thing I've ever written, and I'm glad to say that it was very well-received (it didn't hurt that I had an excellent director, two very good actors, and one brilliant one, Nancy Sirianni).

Enter Jason (aka Jake) Kaminsky. Back when YLJLH was done at Estro, he had wanted to audition to play the son, but the timing didn't work out for him. Move forward to 2007, and Jake Kaminsky is now a producer. He decides that he wants to make a short relationship-oriented film as a sample of his work, and YLJLH pops into his mind. Jake tracks me down on the Internet (he finds me through a post I had put up on a blog seeking lesbians to interview for my Lesbian Sex Book, 3rd edition) and asks me if I want to turn YLJLH into a script.

Hell, yeah!

And so began what turned out the be an educational, wonderful, frustrating, eye-opening, lovely, excellent experience.

First, writing the script was strange and difficult. Jake had a lot of opinions on how the script should be developed--many of them excellent--and I had trouble letting go of the idea of the story and characters being mine and mine alone. However, I'm completely aware that film is not a writer's medium. (Did you hear about the starlet who was so dumb that she fucked the screenwriter to get ahead?) So I rewrote the script to his specifications. And rewrote. And rewrote. And I took a word-based play and turned it into a visually-based screenplay--an odd and challenging and surprisingly rewarding task for someone as in love with words as I am.

And the meetings with Jake were often fun. He's a nice and funny guy, and it was exciting to be working on this project together. As a writer I spend a lot of time alone, and I cherish the opportunities I get to collaborate.

I was very pleased with Jake's choice of a director, Doug Hall. I had seen a play that Doug had directed, and I found his work clear, concise, communicative, smooth, well-timed, polished, and professional. Doug had never directed a movie before, but neither had I had a script filmed before, so I figured we were even.

Jake, Doug, and I met a couple of times and discussed the script. The result: more rewrites. I didn't keep track of how many times I rewrote YLJLH total, but I'd guess between 15 and 20. I think most of the rewrites were improvements, but I'm honestly not sure.

The auditions were inspiring, horrifying, fascinating, and deeply dull, as auditions usually are. I am in awe of how someone can come into a small room full of strangers and share intimate parts of his- or herself. As I writer, the chances I take and the rejections I receive are a little bit distanced, but the performers are there, in the room, in their bodies, with their emotions. Amazing bravery.

We had already cast one role--the bio-mom's husband--with Robert Clohessy, a subtle and smart actor who was in Hill St. Blues, Oz, and Across the Universe. So the auditions were for the mother and son.

New York has a staggering supply of really talented people--and many of them are really, really, really, really good-looking. One actor was so tall-and-handsome-and-built-and-charismatic that he raised the temperature of the room just by walking in; this was a man who gets laid whenever and wherever he wants. He was completely wrong for the part, but it was fun to see what he could do.

Most of the actors trying out for the son had similar takes on the character, but there were occasional differences. One guy came in dressed as though he was going to a rave in the East Village--totally not who the son is! One guy cried. And cried. And cried. And cried. Although we all worked very hard to treat every actor with respect, it was all we could do to not burst out laughing until he had closed the door behind him. Beside the crying being overdramatic and HAMMY, it was completely wrong for the scene.

Greg Parri had already worked with Jake and I think Doug too, and as soon as he walked in and started reading I knew they were going to be working with him again. First of all, although he is quite good-looking, he isn't generically handsome like so many of the others. He has his own look, which includes beautiful eyes and a sweet sexy mouth, and he looks like a real person. He's also a wonderful actor. And he's just right for the role.

The array of women we saw for the mother was more varied--many different looks, different types, different approaches. It's amazing how much we rely on looks for how we understand people and their behavior. The same exact action reads differently if done by, for example, a tall coolly pretty blonde, a squeaky voiced cutie, and a heavy-set brunette with a deep voice. Casting requires acknowledgment of an audience's preconceptions so that you can choose the best person to express the story you want to tell. In my mind, it was down to three women whose combination of looks, voice, and talent worked for the role (one of whom was Nancy who had played the character at Estro). We chose Valerie Wright, who looks like a younger, sexier Sandy Duncan. Part of me feels like I betrayed Nancy who was truly amazing in the play and gave a great audition but Valerie had the look we wanted and also gave a great audition (and a wonderful performance).

So, there we were, with a first-class cast, a reasonably good script, a wonderful director, a hard-working creative producer, and even a little budget.

Which is a good time to stop for now. More next week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

HC: How much is that doggie on the roof

The Metropolitan Museum of Art now has a Jeff Koons' balloon dog sculpture on the roof. It has to be seen. It is adorable, whimsical, and more than a little mind-boggling. 

It's a folded balloon dog, but it's 10 feet tall.
It's a balloon, but it's made of stainless steel.
It's on the top of a roof, and there's the fear that it could blow away at any moment...but you know it's not going anywhere.
It's its own entity, but there YOU are, reflected goofily in it, distorted like in the mirrors on an amusement park pier, making it impossible to take the sculpture seriously, but WOW WHAT A SCULPTURE.

If sweet, funny, huge balloon doggies aren't your thing, go down to the shark in a box display by Damien Hirsh, entitled "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living." This piece of art grabs you by the throat, and gut, and is more than a little creepy.

In our daily lives, how many of us will come face to face with a shark? Yet at the Met, there you are standing mere inches away from this amazing creature as it floats, menacingly, but not. Seeing this shark at the Met is akin to seeing Queen Victoria at a wax museum. It's not going to happen in real life, but it sure feels real. This is another exhibit that messes with your head. The shark looks so alive but it's not. I felt guilty that this shark, shall we say, gave it's life for art? It should've died a natural open-sea death, finally being eaten by all the other hungry living things in the sea. If it were, however, I wouldn't have the opportunity to see it, and be thrilled by it. It's very creepy and totally fascinating. You want to look deeper and deeper into the shark's mouth, but it feels invasive. You know it's dead but there's that little feeling in the pit of your stomach that says WATCH OUT I'M GOING TO BITE YOU. The fact that the shark looks dissipated only adds to the slightly sinister feeling of the exhibit.

AV: Joe!

Obama picks Joe Biden for VP.

Among all the current noise (and sure to be more), hop on over to the Huffington Post (Ariana!!) and read this lovely little missive to Mr. B. from a regular sort of gal.

She calls it "Joe, let's talk"

BTW, does anyone else remember watching ol' Joe during the Watergate hearings ... when he still had hair?

(I am soooo glad it wasn't Bayh ...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DW: Rain and Marriage

My husband lives in fear that we (I) have left the windows open, once again, and rain will come gushing in to our house...ruining the new wood floor,  his African masks, and everything else that's important to him. In other words, he is derailed by the idea of anything getting wet.

I find this funny and frustrating at the same time. It's gotten so bad that I actually felt tense one afternoon while at work. I suddenly realized it was raining and half considered racing home to check the windows. About a month ago I suggested we air out our the basement. After opening the windows I spent the entire day asking, "now you're sure you're ok with the windows being open down there, right?" 

This may sound careless and cavalier, but I don't mind if things get wet. My theory is that they'll dry eventually. That doesn't mean that I don't take precautions, but it would never occur to me to check the windows every morning before I leave the house. For some reason I find this difference in our outlook to be very amusing. Then again, he would never spend $5 on a fresh pineapple and I would.  

I can forgive this preoccupation, because the one area we never disagree on is books. No matter how many times we swear we're not going to buy any new books, we somehow slip, and there's a new pile on either side of the bed. As I get older I've come to appreciate the differences that do exist (vs resenting them), and I'm able to see how they make life a bit richer and can even be instructive. When I was younger, the idea of being with someone who was not like me was not an attractive option. 

I've probably learned to appreciate differences the most from my business partner. He is a very detached, non-emotional kind of guy who has taught me a lot. We ordered Chinese food last night because we were working late, and he opened his fortune cookie that said "life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think." I thought that was an interesting perspective to ponder. Eckhart Tolle says that emotion "is the body's reaction to our thoughts" and that it is a mistake to overly identify with our them.  I'm working on that.

So we leave next week for a 9 day business trip. I'm praying that irony doesn't rear its head and dampen our abode while we're toiling in the Las Vegas desert.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HC: Sharing

My 14-year-old daughter is a big Twilight book series fan. She's read, and loved, all four books, especially the first and last. I decided to read Twilight, to see what the big deal is. The biggest deal of all--aside from the fact that I'm enjoying the book, and it's intriguing--is that my daughter is SO excited that I'm reading it, so she can talk about it with me, and share it with me. This may seem like a minor thing, but it's not. I read in bed, and Emma comes in the bedroom every 10 minutes to see where I am and to see if I'm enjoying it. It's very special.

When she and her brother were little, I read to them a lot, and my husband read to them even more. All four of us love to read. If you like to read, you're never lonely, you're never bored, if a flight is delayed it's an okay thing: hey, more time to sit and read.

I'm really happy my daughter has read all the Harry Potter books, and the Twilight series, and tons of other books. I hope that love will continue forever. It certainly has in me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

AV: Brains

This is one of the amazing talks brought to the world on the TED Talks website. Something new every week and all the talks that have gone before are archived on the site as well as available on iTunes as video podcasts. Free.

Today, for your deep well-being, is ... (directly from the site itself). Something you could not have imagined for yourself ...

"Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness –- shut down one by one. An astonishing story."

Please watch/listen tell me what you think. (no pun intended)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jayne Relaford Brown

(This was delayed going up because I was out of town. Sorry about the delay. WC)

Picture: Albino Wallaby

Dispatch from Downunder 4: Last Full Day

Leaving Tasmania tomorrow, and more importantly, leaving Janice's brother Dave and niece Danielle in the Brisbane airport. A weird limbo of sorry to go and can't wait to resume our own lives. Feeling we should do something special today, but feeling we've seen what we need to see. The important thing is happening as I write this in the game room at the Bayview Villas--behind me the sounds of Dani and Janice razzing each other as they play ping pong. Dani's off the cell phone and playing with us, and tonight, pizza together at our favorite spot down the hill.

Some frightening things: Hearing someone say "What up?" or "She thinks she's all that" in an Aussie accent. Sadly, "that's so gay" has made it here as slang. Katrina makes fun of how I say "water," and when I tell Dani about it, she thinks I'm hysterical too. She imitates me, and it sounds like she's gargling. "Wahterrr." Katrina teaches me how to say "Kebab" properly: kehBABB (rhymes with stab). Dani and Dave are both ready to move to Tasmania, and I can see why--it's wonderful encountering other cities where you say, yes, I could live here.

I have not seen a superb wren, but I DID see an albino wallaby! And platypi! Life is good. Three days of travel coming up, but great pictures and memories. Thanks, Write Bunch!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

AV: Here, Now

Howdy Write Bunch buddies!

Today I'm posting the column I just wrote for my San Diego Democratic Club newsletter column.

Last night Aida and I attended one of the most moving ceremonies of love and committment that we have ever witnessed. Two extraordinary individuals who are more like twin souls separated at birth stood encircled - literally - by a great wide community of folks whose commonality is our love for them.

In addition, I am eyeball deep in the campaign against Proposition 8, the proposed amendment to the California consitution that would eliminate the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. It's a tough road, but it looks like we can win this thing.

So, here 'tis. besos, queridas ...

President’s Perspectives - August 2008

Today I attended the beautiful and wondrous wedding of dear friends. There’s a lot of that going around these days and more to follow, if my calendar is any indication.

As I watched my friends pledge their lives to one another in the company of their family and friends, and receive the validation of the state, I reflected more than once on the long and difficult journey to the place where they stood encircled by the love of their community and steeped in the joy of the moment and of the years to come.

Yes, a long road for both of them and goodness knows that each of us sometimes are a little flummoxed and bemused when we stop and look behind us at the path we’ve taken to wherever we stand at any given moment. Some of us look at our lives and wonder, perhaps not for the first time, “how did that happen?” Perhaps we look at the person with whom we are sharing our days and ask how it was that our paths crossed? “We’re so different!” or “I didn’t even know you” or “How long were you living in the next apartment?” How does someone from one side of the globe, for example, find the hand of another all the way across the world? How do we end up side by side with the families we choose – or the ones that choose us?

It’s a mystery to me and I’ve been doing a bit of pondering the mystery these days. We seem to be at the edge of something so big, and yet so simple. Something all-encompassing, I believe.

Things are changing.

And it’s not just the weddings, as if that weren’t enough to shift one’s perspective several degrees. Although the sudden steeping of joy and delight around us is truly miraculous in so many ways, I think that it’s the fact that many of the faces I see around those blissful and solemn couples are the same ones I see around the table at phone banks and committee meetings and campaign walks and outreach trainings. They’re your faces.

I see you everywhere! How did you end up here? Did we all know each other? Who invited us? I look around and I see as many different paths to this place as there are people. Some of you arrived at this tiny place on the map from other countries. Some from perhaps the next city over, but from a tradition that’s worlds apart. Still others travelled from what felt like another planet. And some have always been here to welcome the new arrivals with a quick tour and a smile.

Regardless of the path, long and arduous or simple and short, here we are at the edge of … something. The map has been circled for us. This place. This time. We are here together to make it happen – to shepherd each other and our communities into the future.

Can we do any less than those couples who gather themselves up and step into the open road of the future knowing that together they can create anything. I think that, all together, here – now – maybe we can do more.

I’ll see you at the phone bank.

No On 8, Equality For All

Thursday, August 7, 2008

AV: Thanks, White-Haired Dude!

I know I know ... you've been hearing about this, and maybe seeing it on the news, but the full-length version is really worth watching. It's just hot.

(btw, I think this is the best response. makes me wonder what she would have done with the Swift Boat ad ...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jayne Relaford Brown

Dispatch from Downunder 3: Hello from Hobart

After days of recuperating from a luggage-tugging (re)injury that left me unable to lift a spoon to my mouth or type, and a screamingly horrible internet connection here at hotel, here I hope is blogpost. Thanks to The Write Bunch for letting me communicate here--it's added a lot to the trip in terms of seeing/thinking like a writer, and really keeping images and memories in my head.

First, a backup to Eungella (pronounced Yung'la, Land of the Clouds in the aboriginal), the one place we have made a point to return to each visit. The Platypus Pool on the Broken River is my kind of place of worship. In this rainforest pocket, people from all over the world gather, hushed, in anticipation and near-silence. A ripple, a few bubbles, and "There! There!" softly in several languages, or the universal pointing, as a platypus surfaces and we all fall in love. Every time they are still smaller than I expect, only a foot long or so--duckbill, fur, feet and eyeliner that could look fierce or sweet. A few seconds of paddling and they're gone again as we all follow the ripples to the next surfacing.

The road to Eungella goes across the cane fields, past the cane trains and the sugar factories smelling of molasses, up 4.5 ks of 12% grade, and into the mountainsides of waterfalls, palms, shaggy cedars, strangler figs and staghorn ferns. I walked one of the trails with a bottle of water, my camera, and a little note with my name and "Meeting Janice Chernekoff at Broken River tea room." Our cell phones are useless here, and our wallets in the woods. Excitement tippled with fear to be on a trail alone with only one encounter in 5 ks. But the beauty--worth it. How many pictures of a stunning trail turning deeper into rainforest an you take? Heaps, when each turn is more beautiful. And the soft mossy path is heaven.

Hobart--go there if you can. Lonely Planet says 3rd most photogenic city in the world. It rises San Francisco-like from the bay to rooftops on the hill to snow-covered Mt. Wellington, where eucalyptus have adapted to bush-size to survive. (Cadbury Factory!) Downside is the convict past. We went to the Female Factory, a prison where women and children were brought for "crimes" like stealing shawls or food, or "bad behavior," generally accused by partners or bosses. They were sentenced to hard labor, sent out to work as maids, then sentenced to more hard labor when they got pregnant. There's a dig exposing 3 of the stone cells, about the size of dog runs at the pound. Then you can go to the gift shop and buy strawberry fudge. One bright note: there's a legendary protest where several hundred of them exposed their bare bums to the governor and his wife, slapping them (their bums) to register their contempt.

We're off to Bruny Island this morning, hoping to see the penguin rookery, the southernmost lighthouse and pub in Australia. I'm in love with Tasmania, so happy we came. More to come. Cheers to all. Jayne

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Yesterday my 14-year-old daughter and I went to the movie theater to see Mamma Mia! I was seeing it for the second time, and Emma for the third. Had I had more time, after it ended I would’ve sat and waited for the next showing to begin, and watched it for the third time.

Is it a good movie? No, not really. Is it a happy, joyous, funny, goofy, delightful, life-affirming movie? Yes.

The first time I saw Mamma Mia! about two weeks ago, the movie started, and Amanda Seyfried started singing, instantly, and I had my doubts about the film. This is a MUSICAL musical. There’s lots and lots and lots of Abba songs. Seyfried has a pleasant voice, is likeable, and pretty. The song is so-so. I’m not a huge Abba fan, although this movie makes the most of the almost-interchangeable sounding songs. Seyfried’s enthusiasm and smile, not to mention her giggling and jumping up and down, could induce sugar-overload, but she won me over quickly. Her character is getting married to a man with a beautifully chiseled chest on an idyllic Greek island, where she lives with her single mother, Meryl Streep. Seyfried picks up her two best friends—her bridesmaids—at the dock. More jumping up and down and giggling. Another song. A few minutes later Streep drives in her beat-up old jeep to pick up her former back-up singers, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski. After this point I realized my face was starting to hurt because I was smiling so much. By the time the trio started singing "Dancing Queen," and skipping and running down to the dock, gathering other island women--old, young, fat, thin, pretty, average--along the way like semi-demented earth mother pied pipers, I realized I loved this film.

Look! Up on the screen! Lots of women! And look at the leads! Three women over 50! On screen at the same time! Actually, I just checked, and all three women are over 55. Not only are they over 55, they aren’t playing someone’s mother or girlfriend. They just…are. And they are beautiful. And they have wrinkles, (very little) body fat, glasses, etc. They are just…adult women. Getting to see three middle-aged (if they live to be 110…) women being flirty, sexy, seductive, and youthful was a delight. I also loved the friendship between the three, which felt very real. They teased each other, cheered each other up when one of them was blue, supported each other, obviously loved each other. I wanted to make it a quartet.

If you don’t like musicals, I can’t imagine you liking this film. This is a serious musical. Although I’ve never had a problem with people bursting into song on screen, even I might’ve cut a song or two here. Many reviewers complain about how not-very-good Mamma Mia! is, and then almost sheepishly admit to having a great time during the movie. [I enjoyed this Slate Spoilers review:]

The audiences for both viewings of Mamma Mia! were mixed. Yes, a lot of women of all ages, but boys and men, too. The audience’s enjoyment was palpable. Lots of laughing, WITH the movie, not AT it. The film's greatest strength is that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. For gosh sake’s, the graphic of the title is silver, sparkly, flashy, all caps, and has an exclamation point. What greater sign do you need to say, “This is going to be a fun, splashy movie. Just come for the ride with us.” Both audiences even sat through the extra songs during the end credits, when there’s usually a mass exodus from the theater. I can only hope that the stars of the film were having even half as much fun as they seemed to be having.

Honestly, if anyone seeing Mamma Mia! ran screaming from the theater after the first three minutes, I’d understand. Anyone seeing a disjointed clip from the film might well loathe it, but somehow in context it all works. For me, anyway.

I liked how messy grown-up lives can be. When I was a kid, I thought grown ups had everything in hand, everything settled. Now that I’m officially grown up myself, I realize that most of the time we are all flailing about, and that nothing is ever really settled. Seeing Streep, Walters, and Baranski acting like very grown-up 14-year-olds, being silly, and most importantly, having tons of fun, made my spirit soar. Maybe I’m just so starved for images on screen of the future me. Maybe I’m simple-minded (probably). Maybe I’m easy to please (nah). I just loved this film. It was light and fun and I’ll see it again.

DW: The Band

I believe it was Paul McCartney who said, "I'd rather have a band than a Rolls-Royce." I've been thinking about that lately and how much I agree with the sentiment.

This may sound odd, but owning a company, at least this one, is sort of like having a band.... without having to pack-up and play out every night. When we returned from our Vienna meeting, it was sort of like returning from an EU gig where more people showed up than expected and everybody clamored to buy our CD. But beyond the receptiveness of the client/fans, is the internal experience of being in the band, who's John, who's Paul, etc., how each member brings something unique to the set, and the almost addictive nature of co-creativity.

The only way I could be working as hard as I work is if it seemed more like play, which most of the time it does. I've said this before: when I wake up in the morning I know I can go to my office/studio and invent anything I want to invent and that's a very cool thing to be able to do. We pulled off this Vienna meeting with only 3 1/2 weeks to prepare, totally balls-to-the-walls kind of thing. At the end of the meeting, the client says to us, "if I get a promotion it will be because of this meeting." The whole thing was a bit surreal, from staying in this great hotel to flying British Air Biz-class and getting a complimentary massage in the BA biz lounge. At one point I just had to laugh, because it was all so over the top. About 3 hours into the flight home, I walked over to Steve and Dawn, sprawled out on their "couches" drinking beer and watching videos, and said, "don't you feel just a little guilty?"

While the travel perks are great, the best part is hanging out with my band mates, debriefing the day, having some laughs, and planning the next caper. I can honestly say that I've never been happier and realize that every band has its day, and I'm just savoring ours minute by minute.

I remember my old boss Ed Calesa saying to me, "someday you're going to have your own company and have wonderful stories of your own to tell...."

All things must pass, and I really want to be conscious, grateful, and present for everything that comes our way.