Sometimes there are moments throughout the day that stop us in our tracks, that make us smile and help us realize things always fall into place. Connor Bright, my young co-host of Glue Guns and Phasers, was obviously meant to become a Star Trek fan. Although, a generation apart and half the country away, two girls were destined to become the dynamic duo of cosmic crafting. Yesterday, while at work she sent me this photo. Normally, I ignore my phone while on the job, but this made me smile ear to ear. To the “next generation” of fans, welcome aboard. There’s always room on the USS Enterprise for young bright minds.
Twilight Zone Marathons on SyFy: A Holiday Tradition July 4, 2014
“I don’t know why it is, but I’m frightened. A fear just about as vague as its object. Maybe it isn’t really a fear. It’s more just a sense of disquiet, a feeling that things are a little wrong.”
That’s a quote from one of my favorite episodes of “The Twilight Zone.” The Hitchhiker is just one of the many episodes airing on SyFy today. I’m not doing anything for the Fourth of July because I have a lot of work. But, in these moments between, I’m finding my place… in the Twilight Zone.
Dammit Jim, I’m a crafter not a critic! Today, I am. June 30, 2014
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that some companies have the right to opt out of the new health law that requires coverage of contraceptives for women. This ruling is a very controversial decision as it is allowing for-profit businesses to exercise their religious views over their employees’ rights. Those rights equal the state. Those views equal religion. So much for separation of church and state! The biggest offender? Hobby Lobby, which carries products geared towards women and employs a large number of ladies. So, if you work for a company that’s owned by religious people, say goodbye to free contraceptives. Your rights are apparently not your own. Your views are irrelevant. Your body belongs to the almighty Jesus even if you don’t believe he exists.
Hobby Lobby, the craft store and its corporate company, should be ashamed of itself. Their workforce and shoppers are largely women and yet, their efforts to take away birth control rights are one giant slap in the face to those who work hard for them and put money into their registers. The Oklahoma-based company has over 15,000 full-time employees and more than 600 stores in 41 states. It’s owned by evangelical Christians (shocker!), which explains why they are the biggest company fighting Obama’s birth control provision. Now, I am not very good at math, but even I know that effects boatloads of women who may or may not hold their religious views. The contraceptives at issue before the court were the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, and two IUDs. Why is this such a problem you ask? Because religious nuts would rather hurt women than kill something they equate to a baby, even though it’s not even conceived or developed into anything yet. I can understand religious organizations that don’t pay taxes being exempt from such a requirement. You pretty much know what you’re getting into when you work for them, but a craft store? How dare they hold such immense power over hourly employees who just need to work to get by?
You might say, I have no stake in this argument. Except that I am a woman (duh). AND that I am a crafter and might have to buy something from Hobby Lobby in a pinch if there’s no Michaels in the area. I would never work for such a company, but I sympathize with women who have to because they have no other options. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything from them and I definitely won’t now. Moves like this make my blood boil. I usually avoid talking politics and religion in public forums, but this time, the gloves are off. One day, we’ll look back at these moments and wonder how humans could be so primitive in 2014?!
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the decision “potentially sweeping” because it shows the government isn’t interesting in making laws universal for all companies. Ginsburg said, ” it discounts the disadvantages religion-based opt outs impose on others, in particular, employees who do not share their employer’s religious beliefs.” From Wikipedia: In September 2012, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the United States over new regulations requiring health insurance provided by employers to cover emergency contraceptives, stating that, “(t)he Green family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices.”
So, let’s get this straight. Hobby Lobby is arguing that the Affordable Care Act violates their religious views and therefore they do not have to offer birth control to their employees as part of their coverage. This translates to Hobby Lobby assuming their employees feel the same as they do. This assumes women who work for them must all be Christian and therefore hold the same beliefs even if having a child would ruin their life. This kind of mis-use of the Constitution and “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act” is so fucked! It’s fucked up because it’s using the very same logic of freedom to prevent female employees from having freedom. In a nutshell, the federal government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion,” even if the burden results from a general law intended to apply to everyone. Again, fucked!
It is one thing for the Green family, who owns Hobby Lobby, to be closed on Sunday and religious holidays. It’s bad enough that they force their shoppers and staff to listen to Christian tunes over the loud speaker. It’s bad enough they don’t offer holiday decor for the Jewish and other religions. But, it’s quite something else for them to tell their staff they cannot have the same basic human rights the rest of the country is entitled to. Yes, you might say, you don’t have to work for them if you don’t agree, but that’s looking at it from our upper middle class bubble. It might be Hobby Lobby or unemployment with a household full of kids to feed. In fact, if you work for them, you probably do have a household full of kids to feed because well, you can’t get birth control. Sorry ladies, you’re just going to have to carry something for 9 months and provide for it for 18 years because your boss and the federal government made you do it. Again, fucked! I am so ashamed of this ruling. I am ashamed of our country and their disregard for women. One day, we will look at this as insane. Until then, this is reality. This is reality for a lot of women who just need a job. This has to get overturned. This can’t be the way we treat people in 2014 or is it?
Frighteningly accurate in some ways… March 8, 2014
Not saying what part of the LA area I live in.
Top 14 Romantic Songs: IMO February 19, 2014
Okay, so I am a few days late for Valentine’s Day with this list, but I’ve worked nonstop since Friday, which is a good thing. I was thinking about music and what songs I would put on a Valentine’s Day mix tape. Remember those? Yes. Ok, good. Well, here’s my top 14 romantic songs of all time.
14. Closer by Nine Inch Nails (1994)
I know what you’re thinking. How can a song that contains the lyrics “I want to fuck you like an animal” possibly be romantic? Depends on what you consider romantic. He does say “you make me perfect” and “you can have my everything” at different points of the song. I admit it might not be the most romantic, which is why it’s number 14, but, I dare you to say it’s not sexy.
13. Two Can Have A Party by Tammi Terrell (1966)
The lyrics say it all and I’m a sucker for 60s doo wop music. Unlike most romantic songs it’s not a dirge. It’s upbeat and sassy. There’s nothing worse than a drawn out depressing song like “Take My Breath Away.” Yes, I consider that song depressing or maybe just shitty. Anyway, how can you not like a song that was later done with Marvin Gaye?
12. Lovesong by The Cure (1989)
This song has been covered by everyone from 3-11 to Adele, but it’s the simple lyrics and melody that do it for me. There are other Cure songs I like better, but this one is a classic and the it’s right there in the name.
11. Grenade by Bruno Mars (2010)
This might be the most relentlessly dark song on the list. A man is hopelessly in love with a woman and will do anything for her including catch a grenade, but “she won’t do the same.” This non-reciprocal love song is beautiful nevertheless and probably more realistic than most ballads. This song will always be a classic.
10. You and Me by Alice Cooper (1977)
“You and me ain’t movie stars….” but it’s enough for a working man apparently. The lyrics show blue-collar love at its finest. Everytime I hear “You and Me,” I can’t help, but think of the real man underneath the makeup.
9. To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees (1967)
Proving their style was more than just a gimmick, the Bee Gees could write some damn good ballads. This is quite the testament to love. “I live and I breathe for you.” Lyrics like that make most women melt.
8. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars (2010)
Speaking of making women melt, Mr. Mars makes the list again with the loveliest song about a woman’s looks since “You are so Beautiful.” It’s also realistic because it highlights a woman’s modesty when her man compliments her. I think this is one of the best love songs in the last 10 years. It’s also upbeat and fun.
7. Love Reign Over Me by The Who (1972)
I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the passion of this song. In this case, I favor the way this song is sung and the context, over the lyrics themselves. When Roger Daltry does that scream towards the end, I believe him wholeheartedly. Also, watch Quadrophenia.
6. Love Me Tender By Elvis Presley (1956)
This song is so sweet, simple and sincere-sounding it makes you forgot how much he cheated on every woman he ever loved. It hit #1 on the billboard charts and was re-recorded many times, but the Elvis version remains timeless.
5. Je t’aime…moi non plus by Serge Gainsbourg (with Jane Birkin) (1967/69)
See also #14. While this song literally translates to I love you…me neither, one has to understand it as a conversation between two lovers while engaged in coitus. Originally recorded as a love song for then-married-Brigitte Bardot, but the sounds of her moaning on the record and lyrics like “I go and I come between your loins” probably wouldn’t have flown with her husband. That version was held back for obvious reasons. I think it’s pretty bad ass that Serge would be ballsy enough to record something like this and equally bad ass that his new girlfriend, Jane Birkin, wouldn’t mind recording a love song written for someone else. She makes the song her own solidifying her as a breathy sexpot. Gainsbourg knew how to be a provocateur with lyrics and this song was banned by the Vatican, as well as many countries. Who wouldn’t want to be the “wave” to their “naked island?”
4. Your Song by Elton John (1967)
The gift of a song is a beautiful thing. Elton John let us know we can tell everybody that this is ours. “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Who would mind? Timeless, beautiful and fresh every time I hear it.
3. Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton (1976)
It might be one of my more obvious choices, but it’s on everyone’s list and played at weddings all over the world for a reason. Between the lyrics and the guitar riff, I can’t help but fall in love with this song over and over again. Every woman wants to be told she looks great and is a wonderful person.
2. Something by The Beatles (1969) and You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker (1975)
I’m cheating a little here, but You Are So Beautiful is so short, it’s hardly a full song. The sentiment makes up for its brevity and Joe Cocker’s passionate delivery has melted hearts for decades. “Something” is my favorite George Harrison scribed Beatles song. There’s something so pure about the way he loves this woman. I am complete putty when I hear it.
1. Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney/Wings (originally, 1970)
Dedicated to his wife Linda who helped him get through the horrible breakup with The Beatles. To me this is the perfect marriage of lyrics and passion in the delivery. So beautiful.
Runners up: Love of My Life by Queen, Never Tear Us Apart by Inxs, When A Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, With or Without You by U2, Pictures of You by The Cure, When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars, I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders, Melt With You by Modern English, Wonderful by Adam Ant, Thank You by Led Zeppelin, Yellow by Coldplay and There Is No If by The Cure.
The importance of not commiserating and living in the past February 15, 2014
A friend once told me, “it’s important for us not to commiserate.” That phrase has resonated with me this past year. A lot of changes took place in 2013, the big one being losing my grandmother. She was probably the closest person to me. We had a rare bond. I lost her on Valentine’s Day. I thought this would make the first year anniversary unbearable, but I found that not to be the case. I surrounded myself with projects, fun and lots of friends. I didn’t wake up and mope around the house. I avoided introspection. I thought fondly of her, but not of her death. My memory of her is not dominated by three arduous days in the hospital. Because I kept busy and positive, I avoided falling into the depression trap. I held up in a way I would have thought impossible.
The other day I went with my paranormal investigator friends to the site of a historic massacre. I didn’t know what was in store for me or whom I would meet. Turns out the event was full of “psychics.” One of them spoke to me when three times her cell phone fell into lap from the wide arm of a chair. A strange occurrence, yes, but it doesn’t make it a paranormal phenomena. Anyway, this bizarre activity prompted her to talk to me about my grandmother. I know how psychics read people, so I didn’t give her much to work with. Admittedly, she got some very specific details right that floored me. I got sucked in. I allowed myself to think there was some connection, that there was some spiritual interaction going on between her and my lost loved one. While we didn’t go the Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” route, I felt what she was doing was really positive. The skeptic in me has always been leery of supposed clairvoyants. The interesting thing about this one, was she didn’t hand me a card or even promote herself. We simply talked with me and stopped when clearly the conversation had ended. Nothing was forced on me and no money changed hands. Usually that’s where the exploitation takes place. At any rate, I relayed what she told me to my father. He found some solace in what she said. I thought this was a really good thing, whether fake or not. It made him feel better and that’s what mattered to me.
Then, I relayed this story to my significant other. He had a very different reaction, one that was quite negative. His words still run though my head, “Don’t let anyone shit on the memory of your grandmother. That’s your memory and not for anyone to exploit.” I’m probably paraphrasing a bit, but that was the sentiment. He was absolutely right. Stubbornly, I argued that she was doing something positive and not trying to profit off my loss. He told me it didn’t matter. She was giving us false hope and continuing the cycle of sadness. So, just like my friend telling me not to let our tragedies define us, he was saying that this was not her place. He was right. I didn’t need a stranger talking about a connection she knew nothing about. While it might seem harmless, the feelings it invokes are not. Sometimes the best way to handle loss is to keep the memory of that person and not speculate on where they are now or what they are thinking. Because, guess what? They are not. They are gone. That’s it.
Just like our tragedies and trauma, they are in the past. They can play a key role in making you who you are, but they are not you. Depression lies and tells you they are. Sadness does not need to define you. When you commiserate you hold onto the past. While being able to share your pain with another is one of life’s great comforts, it’s important for us to recognize that it can be unhealthy if that’s all you do. Human connection is good, but commiserating can quickly devolve into negative thoughts. Don’t let losing someone prevent you from living. Don’t let tragedy prevent you from the future you are destined to have or the one you can create for yourself. This is the year of change for me. This is the year where I stop holding onto the past and get a jumpstart on all the things that are in my future. Afterall, we don’t know when our time is up.
Valentine’s Day was not the one I expected. I was happy. I was living life and appreciating all that I have instead of concentrating on a deficit. Yes, I still love my grandmother. Yes, I still miss her. Yes, it still hurts to not be able to call her. That being said, how does being depressed honor her memory? She was a woman who lived life to the fullest and I intend to do the same. That is the Marie way. So, I raise a glass and toast this very cool woman who made my life more beautiful.
Joyeuse Saint-Valentin! (Happy Valentine’s Day) February 14, 2014
Yesterday, we went to a Yelp Elite Party, which was a famous couples prom theme. We went as Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg and while no one seemed to quite get it, we enjoyed the hell out of it! One guy even said, “who are you guys?” We told him. His reply: “I knew it would be something really cool that I wouldn’t know.” Ha!
Also, on the Star Trek front, I just released two new Glue Guns and Phasers videos. The most recent is how to make treat bags for your Valentine. See the video at the bottom of this post.
Thank you to my “initials J.C.,” Scott Markus, and co-host, Connor Bright for all their love and support. You guys are the best friends a girl could have. Needless to say, this Valentine’s Day is already 100 times better than last year’s. I’m holding it together and in a little while I’m off to see more friends at a Doctor Who convention called Gallifrey One. Onwards and upwards!
J’taime moi non plus…