Blogging Isn’t Writing

Especially because of the pandemic we’re experiencing, I thought it would be fun to watch movies that deal with them. The first one I watched made me laugh so hard I almost choked and died (no lie). Jude Law plays a blogger/journalist [Alan Krumwiede] who wants to break the story, and LaurenceMV5BMTY3MDk5MDc3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzAyNTg0Ng@@._V1_ Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever provided me with this gem: blogging is not writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation. One of the best movie quotes about blogging of all time and space. #fightme

I tend to think of it as emotionally vomiting all over the Internet, but what do I know? šŸ˜‰

The movie has an amazing cast, and held my attention. When I watch movies, they generally run in the background as I do a hundred other things, but I actually sat down for this one. I am a huge fan of both Jude Law and Matt Damon, and love it when they work together. The Talented Mr. Ripley is a masterpiece. I also love Laurence Fishburne’s voice, and I could listen to him read the phone book and be extraordinarily happy with it. The movie itself is great, but what really pushes it over the top is the actors chosen.

I am sure I will keep watching disaster movies, because they are timely and generally have great soundtracks. I am a sucker for a well-composed score….. and isn’t it interesting how life imitates art?

Speaking of which, no show in recent memory does this better than Homeland. For instance, two or three weeks ago it was about negotiating a cease fire with the Taliban. Truly, with the exception of a Bipolar I case officer, this show is the most realistic I’ve ever seen.

Why would a Bipolar I case officer be ridiculous? The CIA would never let it happen. I think it’s probably a little unfair to discriminate against mentally ill workers that don’t leave Langley- with the exception that they have to be in treatment at all times- but field work would end in disaster, and not for the reasons you think.

If a Bipolar spy was captured in a third world country, they may not even have access to your medication. If they do, how likely would it be that they would actually give it to you? It didn’t even occur to me until Carrie herself got made, and descended into madness from lack of medication after getting captured by the GRU.604px-Apple_logo_Think_Different_vectorized.svg

That being said, a Bipolar analyst might be a good thing. Mental illness isn’t fun, but you gain a tremendous amount of ability at being able to see things others don’t, because you’re always thinking outside the box. Carrie’s murder boards are absolutely insane in terms of always being spot on. She can make connections that no one else can or does. That part is amazing in terms of mental illness visibility, because she highlights all the bad and the good. The problem comes in when analysts are required to be forward-deployed. I have no idea how that would work, but it’s a balance of pros vs. cons. I don’t have an answer, I just think it’s something that might come in handy, especially when Think different. becomes a thing….. because trust me when I say no one is better at it.

There have been a lot of people saying that Homeland has gotten predicable and boring, because Carrie is brilliant and then has a breakdown every season. The producers’ response was amazingly kind (at least to those who have it). Carrie doesn’t get a break from it. Why should you?

In terms of my own mental health, Carrie and I are very different. Bipolar II does not cause such extreme variance between depression and mania. The depression is full strength, but the mania is basically the Bipolar I Diet Cokeā„¢ counterpart. There’s only one time in my life that it’s gotten out of hand, and it was so memorable that if it ever happens again, I’m locking myself in my room and air gapping my computer. I will leave you to your own devices as to what happened, but it cost me more than I’ve ever spent… in fact, it reached into my five dollar life and made change… the scary part was that I was on my medication when it happened, and I thought I was going to have to start a whole new protocol.

The reason that’s always scary is that changing your medication is often trial and error, so I could have been through the wringer several times before getting right again. But as it turned out, my doctor added Neurontinā„¢ & Klonopinā„¢ for anxiety and left the rest alone. It thankfully, blessedly worked miracles. That was four years ago, and I haven’t had a recurrence, mostly because I’m so afraid of it that I will go to the doctor at the drop of a hat.

Nothing has really changed in terms of always feeling better, but nothing has felt worse, either. I think my ups and downs are just life, not my brain causing them. For instance, my disorder didn’t get worse when my mother died. I just experienced grief like a normal person (or as normal as I get, anyway). I walked around dazed and confused for months, not getting out of bed unless I had to. I’m guessing that particular reaction is common for people who have lost a parent or a spouse, and not an indication of something worse. Although I knew that the grief would be bad, I truly didn’t expect a fog to settle over my brain that would make me constantly feel as if I was on a heavy sedative, forgetting what and who was around me…. such as putting ice cream in the refrigerator. I leaned heavily (and still do) on the friends who have also lost parents, because they can tell with one look how I’m doing that day.

The thing is, though, now that it’s been three years I am still grieving, but over different things… like losing the sound of my mother’s voice in my head, or forgetting things I should probably remember, like childhood memories. As I get older, my first decade fades. Grief is an interesting balance between being grateful for the years you got and being cheated out of the ones you were supposed to have. It is a totally different thing when your parents don’t die in their eighties.

And, to be frank, you get irrationally angry at people who say the wrong thing, because they don’t mean any harm. They’re trying to be supportive, they just don’t know what to say. The people that do know what to do become precious- the ones that just say “I’m sorry,” because they know there are no words in the English language that will make things better. Bonus points for hugs or an arm around your shoulder. I don’t think I got enough affection at that time, because I just didn’t have as big a support system then.

The one exception was Prianka, because it was so amazing to have my best buddy pick me up at the airport when I landed at DCA from that particular trip. It was nice to relax on the way home rather than having to struggle with my bags on the Metro as I got lost trying to find my way home because I couldn’t think properly. If I had been driving, I would have realized I was going the wrong way at about Richmond.

All that being said, it was really nice to know that I was having an objective experience rather than subjective, because my feelings were so universal. Deep grief is not a club you want to join, but there is an amazing community to receive you……..

Especially other people who also graffiti the Internet.

Wandering Through My Mind

We have black and pink tile in our bathroom with pink paint on the walls. Yes, it’s a bit outdated, but also ridiculously expensive to replace. So, we’re in the process of painting the walls white, and going to add pictures that are mostly teal of the water around the Mediterranean Sea. Though I don’t know exactly which pictures are going to be chosen, my guess would be the eastern shore, because Hayat is from Lebanon. It’s better than what I would have chosen, because I would have left the pink and decorated in jewel tones, turning our bathroom into a theme which suggests “Indian restaurant….”

Other than that, it’s a pretty uneventful day. I thought about going to Gay Day at the Zoo, but to be honest, I don’t want to deal with the weather. Walking around outdoors in the rain, while it might be cooler, does not sound like my idea of a good time. I don’t know why. I lived in Portland, Oregon for a decade and rain never stopped me from doing anything, because if you can’t stand the rain, you’ll never leave the house. Ever. Ok, ok, maybe three weeks in the summer. Good luck, God bless.

It’s a different kind of rain on the Mid-Atlantic, though. There are bigger drops of water blowing at you, while Portland is more “gorillas in the mist.” Despite the overabundance of wetness, however, my Oregon sensibilities will rarely let me carry an umbrella. Umbrellas are for tourists. If you live in Oregon, that phrase will be drilled into your head from day one.

I miss Oregon sometimes, but it’s fading further away as the sunshine makes me feel so much better. I didn’t realize how much the weather was making me sick until I sat outside in the heat for three weeks in Houston, ice and Jamaica Kool-Aid in hand (Jamaica is pronounced “ha-my-i-ca” and tastes like hibiscus). In Oregon, my vitamin D level went down to six, and as I learned in Texas direct sunlight, the pills did nothing for me. The weather in DC is much better for me, because even though it gets just as hot in the summer, it’s nice to have all four seasons. In Houston, the weather is like Tex-Mex…. mild, medium, hot, and “dear God help me.” The one thing that’s different about DC summers is that even though it’s hot as blazes, everyone else complains about the humidity and I’m all like, that’s adorable.

The other thing about DC that’s comparable to Houston is having to stuff a jacket in your backpack, because even though it might be over a hundred outside, most buildings crank their air conditioning down to Hoth. For this reason, I don’t often wear shorts in the summer. If I’m going to The Mall or the Zoo, fine. Otherwise, I spend most of my day shivering violently. Even with pants on, I’m generally comfortable because I don’t wear jeans much anymore. I have two pairs that sit in my closet while Dockers are the bees’ knees. I have them in almost every color they make. Besides, DC is a generally preppy place. I fit right in…. with the exception that I don’t dry clean my shirts with extra starch… like I should. There’s not even really room for a full-size ironing board upstairs, and those little ones drive me insane. Sometimes I’ll concede to fluffing my button-downs in the dryer. Generally, I just wear t-shirts… but nice ones. Nautica and Polo in solid colors are my favorite.

On casual days, most of my wardrobe consists of t-shirts from Chuy’s. Now that there’s one in Rockville, I probably have enough to outfit two people for a week. My favorites are a parody of Star Wars with “Juan Solo” on the front, and a parody of Breaking Bad-Ā a Chuy’s fish with Heisenberg hat and sunglasses. Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that I also love t-shirts with dinosaurs. They crack me up. One has a T-Rex lying face down and says “T-Rex Hates Push-Ups.” The other has a T-Rex with a piece of pizza in his hand, going toward his mouth and says, “The Struggle is Real.”

This is just one of those entries that’s going to be all over the place because I really have nothing to say. I am just babbling into the universe as not to let my writing muscle atrophy. It feels nice not to have any more deep, dark secrets to spill so that I don’t have to carry them. Weight has been lifted that I didn’t even realize I was carrying until I wasn’t moving in the world under the barbells of internalized rage…. and that’s all due to you. Without this space, and readers who jumped in and comforted me, I would not be in such a good place now. I mean, I do have secrets, but they’re just the ordinary kind that all women carry… not things that hurt, just ideas and memories you want to keep for yourself….. like just how many times I had to rewind one scene in Sideways…. but I’m not gonna tell you which one.

Speaking of media, the season finale of Homeland was amazing. CIA is fascinating all on its own, but the cast is just outstanding, as is the writing. I read an interview with one of the producers (forgive me, I can’t remember which one) that gave me pause. They said that some of the criticisms that have come this season have dealt with the fact that they’ve recovered ground, that Carrie’s mental illness has been done to death, etc. The producer’s answer was stone-cold awesome. Mental illness will always be a part of Carrie’s life… she doesn’t get a break from it…. why should you? CHECK AND MATE.

Without spoiling anything, it is amazing how Homeland episodes can be filmed months before something happens and then it’s “automagically” current. This season practically could have been a documentary, terrifying in its accuracy. Also, there are new characters this season that add to the reality, sometimes in funny weird (not funny haha) ways.

Saul has to go and talk to a professor in a CIA history class, and when he walks in, the professor is talking about how the Americans FREAKED OUT when Sputnik was launched because they thought it was a way to point nuclear warheads at the United States…. and then, all of the sudden, “space force” didn’t seem like so insane an idea. I mean, I ultimately decided it was ridiculous, but the show at least made me chew on the facts a little longer. My gut feeling is that CIA probably already has a division which gathers intelligence about trying to weaponize spacecraft, so why duplicate efforts?

This is batshit insane, tho:

Eventually, everyone understands we’re going to need to have fleets of starships as part of the defense, the same way the Federation had fleets of starships in Star Trek.

-Dale Ketcham, Vice President of Space Florida

Everyone? Really? Maybe I’m too old and just don’t get it, but a standing army in space seems like jumping the gun a little bit. It would be much easier and cheaper to launch something unmanned, a more likely possibility since we already do drone strikes now.

Next will probably be “Time Force,” to protect us from armies in the future we can’t know are coming. If Homeland films about it, we should start taking it seriously.

Did I mention this season was scarily accurate?