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Interlude: Celebrating Julienne

Tomorrow, January 11, is Julienne’s birthday.

(I’m struggling to say much beyond that. I’ve just been staring at the blinking cursor trying to figure out what words could possibly capture how that first sentence makes me feel. This week has been a real struggle, especially since I posted pictures of her last birthday party on social media a few days ago. It feels obscene to have her birthday come around when she isn’t here. This week has been harder for me to get through than any I can remember.)

31 years ago tomorrow, the world became an immeasurably better place by having Julienne in it. Her light, her love, her beauty, her magic, her joy, her passion, her strength, her brilliance of mind and spirit – all of those things – made an indelible impression on everyone she met, and even on people who did not get a chance to meet her. Her presence still has an impact that resonates with family, with friends, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers. Julienne is like no other person I have ever met, and without her the world is a different, darker world.

(I must confess that I take a grim and joyless humor in seeing how the world has descended into madness and chaos over the last months. Entire continents burn, World War III is being discussed in serious terms, the entire post-WW2 world order is preparing to overturn itself into chaos while the worst weapons humanity have ever managed to craft now become an almost inevitable occurrence with every passing day. As far as I am concerned, the heat death of the universe is a fitting consequence of the unfairness of Julienne’s illness and the theft from us all of such an incredible being. Please forgive me my blackest of black humor. She would be very cross with me over it.)

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Interlude: New Year’s Eve

Julienne made New Year’s Eve special for me in a way it had never been before. Whether we celebrated it at a friend’s house, with her parents watching fireworks over the Inner Harbor, in Vienna at a palace ball, or in a club getting bottle service accompanied by a marching band, it was always special. Because of her. I’m posting pictures of those past celebrations on Instagram. I should be easy to find.

2019 had some of the best days of my life. It also had the very worst ones. I don’t want it to go, though, because 2019 will always be the last year that I got to kiss Julienne, to hold her hand, to smell her hair, to hold her and be held by her, to fall asleep next to her, to laugh and cry and dance and snuggle and play, together with her. 2020 will be the first year without her, when I know what I am missing. 2020 can eat a bag of dicks.

Julienne did another holiday song, of course. Play it tonight just after midnight. And, if you like, you can ring in the new year with us from 2016, when we were happy and in love and still facing the world together. I hope your new year is a happy and joyous one. Do things you never expected you’d do. Take risks, but not too many or too dangerous. Tell people you love them. Allow yourself to be loved, especially by your own self. Remember thou art mortal. Remember those you’ve loved and lost, or just lost contact with. Do not forget auld lang syne.

It’s Time: The 2017 Sorta Annual Aravan Awards!

I know, I know. I do like two blog posts in 10 months, then I do 2 in two days. Some people binge drink; some people binge blog. And some people do both, like me!

Anyway, it’s still February, the All-Time Aravan Award Winner for Shittiest Month 1600 years in a row (seriously, it’s so shitty that we cap it at 28 days unless we need to make the calendar still work, then we grudgingly add a 29th every four years and resent the fuck out of extending it), so technically I can get away with a 2017 awards presentation. And if you disagree, the terrible Academy Awards won’t be held until fucking March, so take it up with them if you think I’m too late. So you know what that means.

IT’S TIME FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING 2017 ARAVAN AWARDS, BABY!

Before you get too excited, let me pause and explain what the Aravan Awards are. From the archives:

…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world. Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.” It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.
So I am TOTALLY in!

So sit back, relax, and cheer for your favorite candidates as I google the World’s Shittiest Trophy and use the first image that comes up as the award for this year:

3rd-place-army-national-guard-combative_o_259771728111993146851271.jpg

This is literally what came up. They aren’t wrong.

And now, here it is – YOUR 2017 ARAVAN AWARD WINNERS!

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Five Things on a Monday – December 8th 2014

He hungers for souls.

He hungers for souls.

Since I don’t have any opinions on hotly-contested topics I wanted to express – today, anyway – I thought I’d fall back on an old thing I used to do, five brief blurbs about something that I find interesting or annoying or happening or some kind of ing. Here are those five things for today:

1. I saw BBC’s Sherlock for the first time this past weekend. I’d heard a lot about it from people – well, mostly about how people of all sexes want to carry Benedict Cumberbatch’s babies – but I’d never gotten a chance (well, actually, I’d never carved out the space for it) to see the show before. I thought it was a great show, with an excellent cast doing an amazing job of putting Sherlock in the modern day without losing the Holmesy feel. BC (even I have my limits on how much I want to type) and Martin Freeman absolutely sparkle in their interactions and make a script full of superb dialogue really crackle like a mouthful of locusts. Moriarty, Lestrade, Irene Adler – they all put a different spin on the classic characters and really shine, but none more so than Moriarty (played by Andrew Scott), who makes both the funniest and scariest villain I’ve seen in a long time – he is just flat-out crazy and awesome. So if you have missed this obscure series (it’s only won several Emmys, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes and is the most-watched drama series in the UK and insured international stardom for BC – it’s been flying well under the radar and you’ve probably never heard of it), I’d recommend you give it a whirl. And unlike those people who expect you to watch the entirety of The Wire and Dexter and the Sopranos and Parks and Recreation and Scandal and etc and so forth – watching all of it would take you just one longish Saturday binge.

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V-Day, Whitney, and Other Random Stuff

I haven’t gotten a chance to watch The Walking Dead yet, but I plan on doing so soon and posting my heartfelt and warm fuzzy feelings about it. So in the meantime, I’ll just spew some random things circulating around my head on this lovely Valentine’s Day.

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Lana Del Ray and Other Ephemera

Not to imply that Lana Del Ray is ephemeral. Of course, in the cosmic sense she is, but so are all of us, and if you think of our world as a pebble on a beach of blah blah insert philosophical bullshit here. I just wanted to make a post, which I haven’t done in a while, and I figured it would probably be about random shit off the top of my head, said thoughts to be considered transitory and not really lasting and therefore ephemeral. Maybe Lana Del Ray is going to be ephemeral. I’m not here to say. Anyway.

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The Second Annual Aravan Awards, 2011 Edition

I Googled "cheap plastic statue" and got this. I think it qualifies.

Last year, I gave out awards in random categories for the following reason:

…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world.  Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.”  It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.

So I am TOTALLY in!

This year will be no different! As with last year, the Aravan Awards are a group of awards in arbitrary categories for arbitrary reasons.  Oh, and since I am both lazy and have a horrible memory for time, I won’t restrict myself to things that came out this year, just things that I think I remember seeing this year.  Or am at least pretty sure I remember experiencing in 2011. Seriously, time is a big-ass blur to me quite often. Maybe it’s the drinking. Anyway, it’s time to haul out the cheap plastic statuettes and give credit where credit is due.

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Some Things I Don’t Understand

There is a lot about life that I don’t get. String theory. Or, for that matter, physics in general. Well, to be honest and to take it one step further, I don’t understand any of the physical sciences. Or math past algebra and geometry. Or 90% of biological science. I just can’t understand them. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to learn about them. I think I’m smart enough to grasp the concepts of moles in chemistry and irrational numbers and all that horseshit. It’s just that as soon as I come across these subjects, my brain waits one minute, decides if it cares about anything just mentioned, then just veers off into imaginationland as it tries to entertain itself. My apathy is strong, and it takes a lot to overcome it. It’s the reason why I can’t understand physics or chemistry or calculus or architecture or art history or poetry or fishing or the million other things I don’t understand – my brain won’t let me, and instead tries to figure out which color has been used most often in Marvel superhero and villain names.

Then there’s the stuff that my brain wrestles with over and over, and still can’t come to grips with no matter how hard I try. These are the issues that vex me, that I ponder as I drive for long stretches, letting my brain work on them like it’s part of the SETI program, and one day it’ll filter enough information that I will finally understand one of those things that for the life of me I just don’t get. What follows are some of those things I’m trying to work through.

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The 2010 First Annual Aravan Awards

Every December, every publication on Earth (and I also believe on Betelgeuse IV, but there might be a magazine there that doesn’t believe in linear time and so form an exception) feels an overwhelming urge to put out a Top Ten List for 2010 of some variety, or hand out awards based on flimsy criteria and dubious decision making.  Some wait until later, like The Academy (fitting in America that our most prominent Academy has nothing whatsoever to do with learning), to hand out their own stupid awards, but that’s only so they can milk the process. 

Why not?  After all, coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world.  Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.”  It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.

So I am TOTALLY in! Read the rest of this entry

The Sordid Truth Behind “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”

In December 1978, a man named Randy Brooks gave a song he’d written to Elmo and Patsy Shropshire, who played it at the Lake Tahoe Hilton.  By the early ’80’s, the song was a seasonal hit, delighting young and old with its catchy tune and humorous lyrics.  Like “Ring Around the Rosie” and many other popular ditties, however, the truth behind the music isn’t pretty.

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