Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 is dead. Long live 2014 (at least for a year).

I bet you the pyrotechnic guy started the fire. Just saying.
Well. What can I say? I started this year in San Francisco. In one hour, I am officially ending it in Canberra. That's Australia for those who can't be blamed for knowing.

Oh? Also? I'm married.

I could do a whole Joel song about the ins and outs of this year. About all the things that I went through to get here, about the struggle of six years to be with my wife. About the struggles of a writer trying to get a writing gig. I mean, how many awards did my screenplay have to win in order for it to get picked up (it won three, by the by)?
Truth is, this year has been a blur, pretty much like all years. There were ups, there were downs. There were those parts in-between that lagged forever.

At the end of the day you survived, humanity. By the skin of your teeth, but you hung in there. I was right there with you. I hope that we do better in every sense this year for the next.

We should be humble in our approach to what comes next. Tempered with humility for all of our faults from this year and the year before. And yes, smile, for the wonders that we achieved, even if it was giving someone a nod on the street to wish them a good day.

There are stories, movies, TV reality show endings, where people talk about new beginnings. One chapter ends another begins.

This past month. I moved to Australia.

I got married.

I was surrounded by a rainbow.

And today, I played with my beautiful niece.

I am the living embodiment of all good things to those who wait.

I welcome this new year and the new life I have. Best part about it? It's the first time I don't face it alone.

With five minutes to midnight, I wish you all a truly happy new year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An open letter to Kevin Smith

Hey Kevin,

I thought long and hard about writing this. I wondered what would be the point, it is more than likely going to get lost in the hullabaloo that is Twitter. But you said some words today that I felt I couldn't let slide lest it make less of the men we claim to be.

Over three years ago, you asked me to be moderator on your new message board. It was something completely unexpected. I mean, who the hell am I? I was just a fan of you. There were folks on your message board who were there longer, who have been to more events than I have, whose fingers were on the pulse of all things ViewAskew. At that time, I met you a total of once at WonderCon, and by "met" I mean you signed something for me and you were gracious enough to take a pic with me.

You said to me,
"I'll bring it back if YOU moderate it, sir. All you gotta do is keep the rape porn out of my backyard."
That was the first and last time we ever had a conversation about the board. We met several times after that, but we never talked about the board. I assumed that I was doing the job you wanted me to, but for every call I made, for every person I had to block or ban off your board, I always questioned whether or not this is what you would do. I had very little to go on as far as how you wanted me to maintain order. I took the "95 Thesis" that you wrote and ran with it. Some questioned whether or not that was the call, others felt that their "freedom of blah blah blah" was being impeded, and of course there were those who used the "But Kevin wrote..." defense. By this point you moved on to Twitter, the board was left to the fans and of course your wife to socialize in. The thing is, Kevin, your absence was noticed.

Flash forward a ridiculous amount of drama and in-fighting that is the norm of all message boards. To summarize, your wife's thread became the most active thread on the new board. To most, this meant that Jen was in charge, to a few very loud and ignorant personalities, this rubbed them the wrong way. But to all, I made sure that misogyny was not tolerated.

Then TellEmSteveDave 96 happened. To sum up, women were objectified and then dismissed as nothing more than a pair of tits.

To the credit of some of the guys, they apologized. The worst offender (Bryan Johnson), however, never did.

Your fans (obviously I don't speak for all of them, but it's fair to say that most of the message board felt this way) were left confused and took to looking for a way to respond.

It was Jen who answered them.

And lodge they did, at Bryan. On the board. Both men and women. And I felt it apt.

About a month went by, Comic Book Men came on TV. As all things, it was discussed on the board. Bryan was called out for picking on Ming and still pretty much for what he said about women.

Someone hipped Bryan to the page of the board where he was being discussed. He quickly banned two people, (one of which made fun of his beard), on the grounds that they broke the rules.

What Bryan did not know was that the discussion he was jumping into at the beginning of the thread was in response to what he said on TESD. Many people from the board tried to express this to Bryan on Twitter. He wasn't having any of it. And as you know, in a more public forum, all hell has a tendency of breaking loose.

Today (well, yesterday, I'm in Australia) you said,
"If my movies have made you feel it’s okay to reduce another human being by labeling them a “bitch” or a “cunt”, then I was an even worse filmmaker than I thought."
 Let me say something here, I don't think you're a bad guy. In fact, you're one of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure to meet. But someone as open as you are, you are going to attract some unsavories.

Most of them came to Bryan's defense in the way that unsavories do.

Bryan went on to blame the women of the board.

And when those women tried to reason with him and tell him that he's retweeting some really misogynistic people, he decided to call my wife a "skank".

During this time, I was messaging Bryan, telling him that we needed to talk, that he's getting part of a story and that he needs to understand what's going on. I gave him my number, first he said he'd call me, then he said he would not.

I told Jen (my only contact for anything) that Bryan was in the wrong, that we should shut the board down cause the guy is not listening to reason and it's only going to get worse.

She got the board to shutdown.

And it has stayed down, without a word from you to the fans.

At the end of the day, some fingers pointed to me.

Or to my wife, or the women of the board in general. And with your silence, there was no one to contradict them.

I kept quiet as well. Not sure if I was waiting for you to say something, but mainly, I decided to leave the ball in your court. It's a message board after all. There's a whole internet out there.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wasn't a little hurt by just being cut off without so much as a "thanks for all the fish". One could even argue that I am writing this letter to make this about me, or that I'm trying to get attention by putting you on blast. But this isn't about me. In fact, you know, that to this day, I have never said a negative thing about you.

This isn't about me, this is about what you said today.

"I will always apologize for any man who makes misogyny the manner with which he communicates his feelings. A woman-hater is just a woman-beater in waiting. If you wanna argue with words on my behalf (or EVER, for that matter), NEVER REDUCE/CURSE/HUMILIATE/HATE/DISMISS WOMEN IN THE PROCESS. I wouldn’t let you do it in front of me; I’m not gonna let you do it on my behalf in cyberspace."

Kevin, I'm holding you to this. There's a community that you left to the wayside that deserves an apology for the misogynistic comments made by your friend, Bryan Johnson. He did it in on your podcast network, he did it again to the members of your message board, he did it on Twitter using the Twitter handle that represents a podcast on your network.  The women he belittled on TESD deserve an apology, the women of the ViewAskew message board deserve an apology.

And I seriously doubt they will ever get one from Bryan.

Here at the end of this letter, I again question whether or not to send it. Or why even bother.

I guess I bother because I like you as a person, always have. I met my wife on your board, I am still friends with people I never met in person because of you. I am grateful to the kindness your wife showed me, and I was honored when you trusted me enough to try to do the right thing by you.

I volunteered to be your mod, and you technically never dismissed me as the moderator of the ViewAskew board, so I guess as a last gesture of trying to do the right thing for the board.

Kev, do the right thing.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

"Oh X-Mass Tree"

"Oh X-Mass Tree"

The dusk pulls its warmth from cold shivering trees,
The poor dears try to hold on as they stretch out their leaves.
For they know that when the sun fades on this cold winter night,
Florescent torches will fill their timbers with the iciest fright.
They come with the smell of their ancestors burned,
They come with the laughter of sap-thirsty children who yearn.
Not for the whisper of winds singing gently through the pine,
Not to get lost between memories that vein deep like a mine.
With a gargle of metal, blades, and a combustion of smoke,
The trees go down, one by one, not standing with hope.
They are tied, bleeding and raw, to the roofs of tin cars,
They are bought and sold, no longer graced under stars.
Forced into houses, whored with tinsel and light,
All to be glamorized for one Holiday night.
And as the night passes, as they are put out to pasture,
They choke on their last breaths, those poor prickly bastards.
But hey, at least they got that one awesome Christmas story,
And screw centuries of living, when you were some kid’s morning glory.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I left my heart...

Fire sometimes pretty.
So you may not have noticed, or rather the ether that I type into might not care, but I have moved to Australia.

Not visit, not vacationing, but I have moved to Australia with my soon-to-be wife.

For most (mainly family) this came as a shock even though I have been telling them for a year that I was leaving. I just don't think anyone thought it was real. In fact, I think they think it's still not real, that I'm not there like I have been for the past thirty seven years.

I have come to be with my wife, I tried to get a career started in the States, but to no avail. My wife, who has been my biggest supporter in life and in work, has waited patiently for me to see if I can get something/anything in my field. It was time for me to be with her. I have been with her for six years, and that's six years too long not being able to turn to her every morning, to feel her feet tucked under my leg as we sit on the couch, to hold her in my arms for no other reason than I passed her in the kitchen. So when people ask me how I'm able to just up and leave the world I've known for so long, I tell them quite frankly, "It was easy, cause of her."

But to be clear, that doesn't mean it was a choice with no weight. I have loved every aspect of San Francisco, of all the places from around the world I have visited, there is no place like it.

And I'm not talking about the bridge everyone knows, the cable cars that people think we ride all the time, or the street that is really gay (and if you've never been, you should see it, it's quite happy).

No, what I love about that town is the people. The guy who works at McDonald's on Bayshore who remembers what you ordered last month you were there, the old couple who needed a ride to the bus stop to catch a bus going to the casinos, the homeless guy who offered me change when I needed one for the meter, the guy who gives my grandmother bags of free fruit just cause he can.

A city is made of the folks who truly live there, not in the buildings they reside in. I love that town. I will always love that town.

But I'm not married to that town. And as much as I'll miss it, I left my heart with my wife.

And between one of the greatest towns in the world, and the most amazing woman on Earth, that town stands no chance.
I'll miss you SF, I'll miss you my family, I'll miss you my friends. High on a hill, you all call to me.

But at the end of the day, I left my heart somewhere between a didgeridoo and that ridiculously enormous spider that is about to steal my comp...