Sunday morning and things went about as well as could be expected yesterday. Friday evening I had some items delivered from Sam’s Club, but hadn’t noticed that one of the items ordered actually had to be shipped; it arrived this morning here at the Lost Apartment. And while I was waiting for my Cox cable technician to arrive (I rearranged the entire morning to accommodate their 10-12 am window), I got a text message at 11:30 informing me that my appointment was cancelled; then came the email stating we know things happen! Reach out and reschedule! I reached out, only to be told that the technician arrived, called, got voicemail, and departed DESPITE MY HAVING GIVEN THE SAME INSTRUCTIONS I ALWAYS GIVE: OUR BUZZER DOESN’T WORK SO YOU HAVE TO CALL OR TEXT WHEN YOU ARRIVE.

Also, I had my phone with me all morning, so I wouldn’t miss the call. No one called, I have no recents, and I have no voicemails.

This obviously threw me off my game yesterday for writing, but I did get some done. I am a bit behind on the schedule I’d given myself, but I think it’s going to go relatively easily from now on. I ran some errands, came home, got cleaned up, and dove into the writing. I wasn’t really able to shake off the mood, so after struggling for a few hours to get the chapter done, I called it a day and repaired to my easy chair. Needing to cleanse my soul, I did a rewatch binge of the first episodes of Ted Lasso, which are even more charming on rewatch because you get to see all the callbacks you might have forgotten about later in the run of the show, like Keeley acknowledging that she “dated a 23 year old footballer when she was seventeen, only now I’m thirty and I’m still dating 23 year old footballers” while talking to Rebecca. You can almost see the light come on in her eyes–what the hell am I doing–which kind of opens the door for her breaking up with Jamie later. Even though they don’t know each other well, she recognizes that it’s time for her to grow-up and start thinking about her own future, while talking to Rebecca–which is the first building block in their close friendship. Then later, when Paul was finished working for the day we watched Bama Rush, which was kind of disappointing. Originally focusing on four girls about to go through sorority rush at the University of Alabama–which I guess is this viral thing on TikTok–it got a bit derailed with the director started seeing similarities in behavior of the girls planning to go through rush as she went through being a lifelong alopecia sufferer…which could have been made a lot more interesting, but I always thought the point of a documentary was the director didn’t make themselves a part of the story? I think the point she was trying to make was valid, but the way the documentary was a edited together simply didn’t work. The focus shifted, and it derailed after that.

But Jesus God in heaven, those sorority houses in Tuscaloosa! The fraternity houses! They’re enormous. I had kind of figured Greek life at universities would be declining, given how old-fashioned and restrictive they can be, especially sororities–and this newer younger generation doesn’t seem as interested as preserving traditions and institutions as previous ones were, but Bama Rush showed me things I didn’t know…that “Rush Consultant” is actually a career, for one thing…and the documentary only briefly touched on the Machine, a supposedly secret society made up of representatives from every fraternity and sorority that controls everything at the University. (I kind of love that shit; I’ve long been an admirer of Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline, which kind of touched on that kind of thing.)

Today I am going to get shit done. Later this morning I am going to make a very brief and short grocery run to the Rouse’s in the CBD, and then I am coming home to spend the rest of the day writing and reading. I didn’t read yesterday, which was a bit disappointing; I’d hoped to finish reading my current book this weekend so I could move along to Megan Abbott’s new one; but anticipation is always lovely, and perhaps I can get along to that next week. One can always hope, can’t one?

But I feel rested and awake this morning. My back and legs are a bit tight and sore, so I think I’m to use that massage roller thing for my back and maybe do some stretching (which I should do every day) to see how it feels. I am planning on getting a chapter finished, maybe doing some reading, and then making my grocery run so I can come back and do more writing. I need to write most of the day, to make up for the last couple of days of irritation and aggravation that kept me out of the proper mindset.

My mind has been all over the place this week, which is weird, but also kind of normal for me. Whenever I am in the weeds with a book my mind goes off in all kinds of directions and produces all manner of thoughts and ideas. I started writing several other entries yesterday, specifically for Pride Month and specifically about being gay–sometimes about being a gay author and what that’s like; I always forget that people never really quite grasp or understand what it’s like to be a queer writer in an intolerant country, of what it feels like to be othered by every community in which you try to find a place where you belong. I’ve never wanted to be THAT gay; the one constantly having to remind people of what is and isn’t homophobia, and is always having to point it out and teach straight people about what it’s like. It’s exhausting, frankly, and sometimes the well-meaning ignorance is highly offensive, but you know they don’t mean it that way so you push down the offense and ignore it while calmly trying to explain to the person why they can’t say or do that…while also not trying to hurt their feelings (although had they put even the tiniest bit of thought into it, would have never said anything offensive in the first place). It’s exhausting having to see trash equate your sexuality with pedophilia and grooming on a daily basis. It’s exhausting having to constantly have to defend your right to exist, having to constantly prove you’re a human being worthy of being treated the same as everyone else…

The mental health of queer people is always under constant assault.

And on that note, I am going to get some more coffee and start working. Either on the book, or on one of these Pride entries. I can’t decide which. We’ll see. Anyway, enjoy your Sunday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.

But Heaven Knows I’ve Tried

I don’t know if I have enough words to describe how much I love Ted Lasso.

I also am not sure I’ll ever get over the show coming to an end. Okay, that’s extreme. I will miss the show a lot though; the show was topnotch from top to bottom. There was never a bad performance from anyone in the cast; the writing was stellar; the videography terrific; and the story was just wonderful. There haven’t been many ensemble casts this large where everyone had the opportunity to truly dig in and develop identities as their characters; the chemistry between the cast members was astonishing (well done, casting director and production team!). With the exception of Sudeikis and Anthony Head (as the villain of the piece, Rupert), I didn’t recognize anyone in the cast…although you can probably imagine my delight to discover that Hannah Waddingham, so sublime as Rebecca Welton, was the goddamned Shame Nun on Game of Thrones, and the star swimmer’s mother on Sex Education! I thought she was gorgeous in Sex Education, but that didn’t prepare me for the knockout she turned out to be on Ted Lasso (and my God how I hated the Shame Nun and cheered at her final comeuppance).

I literally knew nothing about the show when it first dropped on Apple Plus. It was during the pandemic–perhaps even while we in the midst of the shutdown (forgive me, those years are blurry to me). I’d seen some bits about it on social media, and I remembered the character from the ESPN commercials (which I’d hated and thought were stupid) and it really didn’t seem like anything I’d enjoy. It was a fish-out-of-water comedy, and that is a trope that has been worked to death since the beginning of time…and it just seemed kind of silly, stupid and definitely lowbrow. I was bemoaning the end of Schitt’s Creek on Twitter, and my friend Alafair replied to my tweet, you need to watch Ted Lasso. There’s a lot more to it than you’d think. I like Jason Sudeikis (so does Paul; the movie We’re the Millers, for whatever reason, is a vastly underrated comedy film), and so one night we tuned in.

And by the end of that first episode, we were believers. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) When the credits rolled I looked at Paul and said, “I quite enjoyed that, did you?” and he agreed, and we went on a binge. How wonderful was that first season? Getting to meet the characters and how they interacted with each other–when Ted first met Keely; when Trent Crimm stood up and started asking asshole-ish reporter questions at Ted’s first press conference; the development of the relationship/friendship between Keely and Rebecca; and of course, that corny, stock, trope of a set-up: Rebecca, having been cheated on and publicly humiliated by her ex-husband, got majority ownership of the AFC Richmond soccer team, and hurt and angry beyond belief, she’s decided that since the only thing Rupert cares about is his soccer team, she’s going to take it and run it into the ground for revenge. We’ve all seen this set-up before, right? How many rom-coms or movies have used this similar insane kind of trope to build around? As I was watching, I kept thinking, okay, Ted is going to win her over and they’re going to become friends and then he’s going to find out what she was up to and be hurt and betrayed and…but the cast was appealing enough for me to care enough to keep watching. There was Jamie Tartt, the cocky young self-absorbed narcissistic star of the team; Sam, the new shy player from Nigeria; Nate, the sweet and shy and timid kit manager, constantly bullied by the players; and of course, Roy Kent (he’s here, he’s there, he’s every fucking where) the aging star who isn’t as fast as he used to be and is slightly resentful of the younger players coming up and taking over. The only people who are genuinely kind and friendly to Ted and his buddy Coach Beard are Keely–they hit it off immediately (I wondered if there was a romance budding there that first season), Nate, and Higgins, Rebecca’s assistant who kept Rupert’s affairs a secret from her and covered for him for years–so she is torturing him.

(And the song playing over the opening credits is a banger.)

And of course, Ted know nothing about soccer. He coached football (the American kind) at Wichita State, and the victory celebration video after they won the national title is what got Rebecca’s attention. But why would Ted accept a job on the other side of the world from his home, away from his wife and son, doing something he knows absolutely nothing about? The offer, as it turns out, came at a time when Ted gradually was becoming aware that his wife was unhappy and wanted out of the marriage. To try to save it, Ted accepted the job so he could give her space–half a planet’s worth. It’s still a bit of a stretch, but as we get to know Ted and Michelle and the rest of the cast through each episode, it becomes obvious that this is exactly the kind of thing Ted would do. His kindness, politeness, and friendliness–often mocked and made fun of by the more cynical characters in the cast–his uncanny gift for compassion, even when he doesn’t really understand, comes from a place of caring but we also learn it’s all a coping mechanism for him as well. His father committed suicide when Ted was a teen, and he’s never really come to grips with the loss, the grief and the pain. Now with his own family unit at risk of breaking up, of course he would do whatever he had to in order to keep the family together and sparing his son the same kind of pain he experienced when his father died.

That’s kind of deep for a comedy. But…Ted Lasso wasn’t just a comedy. It had a lot more layers and depth than I would have ever imagined.

Ted seems almost gimmicky at first. He’s always looking for the best in every person and every situation and has that “aw shucks” kind of cornball Dad humor. But his empathy for others, his ability to see things from their perspective removed from any personal bias, has an overwhelming effect on other people, begins making them rethink their own attitudes and biases and behaviors–encouraging them to be better versions of themselves. At one point in Season 1, Ted explains his entire philosophy of coaching (for want of a better word, it’s holistic) to Trent Crimm…a cynical, skeptical journalist trying to get to the root of who this man is and if he is for real…and spending time with Ted turns Trent himself into a believer. But the empathy, the kindness, the total giving of himself to the betterment of others is actually his coping mechanism. As long as he is helping other people work on themselves, Ted doesn’t have to confront his own demons and issues and problems. This ignoring his own needs for self-care and mental health is damaging him. It damaged his marriage to the point of it breaking. Ted cannot help himself the way he helps others…and as the show progresses he slowly learns and comes to understand that he needs help from others, and that his own vulnerability isn’t a weakness.

And had anyone told me in Season 1 that Season 3 Jamie Tartt would steal my heart, I would have laughed in your face.

Oh my God, what a character arc.

When we first meet Jamie, he’s someone we’ve seen before. Handsome, hot, and an amazing player, he is incredibly full of himself and doesn’t give a shit about anyone else but himself. Somehow he has managed to land Keely Fucking Jones (she will always be that to me, thank you, Roy Kent) as a girlfriend, which I never quite understood; why would Keely put up with this (albeit very hot) man boy? She eventually dumps him mid-season, and he gets sent back to his regular team–he was on loan, something I never really quite understood. He is, in fact, the one who wins the big game for the other team that sees Richmond undergo the humiliation of relegation, by doing something Ted coached him to do that he flatly refused to do when playing for him; making an extra pass to an open teammate rather than scoring himself…and it is in that episode, the finale of Season One, where we discover the key to Jamie’s personality and why he is the way he is (alluded to in an earlier episode, the one about ridding the stadium of ghosts); his alcoholic and highly abusive father–who never gave a shit about Jamie or his mother until he showed prowess at soccer–shows up, and Ted witnesses the abuse in person. Between season one and two, Jamie went a bit haywire, leaving his team to go on Love Island and getting voted off early. No team wants him because of the way he bailed on the team and because he’s a diva, so he has to beg Ted and the team to let him come back to Richmond. And he has to earn it, which he does, by humbling himself and being more of a team player. Watching Jamie grow–and played expertly by Phil Dunster, who deserves an Emmy for Season 3–was an absolute pleasure. He was a standout in Season 3, and it was weird how proud I was of a fictional character.

The scene where he teaches Roy to ride a bike was an absolute joy.

I loved all of these characters, and the talents that played them so beautifully. I could write entire essays about Sam, Roy, Phoebe, Higgins and any number of other characters on the show; I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite. But I am going to close–since it’s Pride Month, and they gave us such an amazing gift in the finale, which aired on Day One of June.

The last thing I expected to find in Season 3 of Ted Lasso was the story of a closeted gay player on the Richmond team. Colin Hewes, who was just adorable and got a line here and there–often funny ones–got his chance to shine as an actor in the third season. When the team’s sponsor switches from Dubai Air to Bantr in the second season, Keely is telling the team about them and she talks about how it’s spelled…and Colin pipes up with, “oh, like Grindr.” There was a bit of an awkward silence and then the scene moved forward. A throwaway, a little nothing, and I literally was amused by it and promptly forgot it. But there was a pay-off for that little line, as we discover in Season 3 that Colin is gay and deeply closeted, as well as deeply conflicted about keeping the secret from his teammates–who are both friend and family to him. I’ve already written about the beautiful scene in Amsterdam when Trent not only tells Colin that he knows, but comes out to him as well…becoming a kind of mentor for him. The fact that the scene between Colin and Trent was filmed in front of the monument to all the gay lives lost in the Holocaust (our history! No longer being ignored! Oh my heart!)? Bravo, Apple TV and everyone involved with this show. Bravo.

And finally…his best friend on the team finds out and stops speaking to him. Finally, in one of my favorite episodes ever of any television series, Colin finally has to come clean…and is welcomed by one and all. Ted’s speech about them caring about his being gay because they care about him, and how he never has to go through anything alone anymore, was just beautiful and I had tears running out of my eyes.

Hell, just writing about it is making me tear up again.

Representation matters. And having it on one of the most critically acclaimed and award-winning comedy series of the decade?

And the scene above? It’s also a callback to the conversation between Colin and Trent. Colin says he doesn’t want to be a spokesperson, doesn’t want any fuss, just wants to live his life and “be able to kiss my guy after a win, like the other fellas do with their gals.” And after the biggest win in the history of the team, he gets to do just that.

I would have cried had I not already been crying.

Because yes, the final game Ted coached for Richmond was epic. At one point during the game I realized I was just as tense as I get during big LSU games, marveling at the power of the show. The game was a fiction. It wasn’t real. But it mattered to me. I wanted them to win. I wanted my team, my little family of players on a fictional television series, to win because I wanted to see their joy. I wanted them to celebrate, and I wanted to see it. (I’ve watched the game segment several times now.)

And as much as I hate to say it, it is time to say adieu to one of my favorite shows. Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me the last three seasons. Thank you to the cast, the writers, and the crew.

And a big thank you to Alafair Burke, without whom I may have never watched in the first place.

Heaven or Las Vegas

Thursday and my last day in the office for the week. Huzzah? Huzzah. I do have to go into the office ungodly early for a department meeting, but that’s okay. I may just have to swing by Five Guys on my way home as a weekend treat. WHY NOT? Why not indeed.

Yesterday was similar to the day before; I didn’t feel tired but I also didn’t feel rested. We were busy at work all day, too, which was cool; the day always passes faster if we’re busy. I was very tired when I got home, worked on the book and knocked off another chapter, then we settled in to watch the finale of Ted Lasso, which was simply marvelous; I am going to watch it again (I cried a lot of the way through it, not ashamed to admit it) and was enormously satisfied with the ending. There will be another, more in depth conversation about the show to come at some point, when I’ve had more of a chance to digest it. I see that there are some people who aren’t happy with it–but it hit every note for me perfectly. Did I get everything I wanted in the end? Of course not, but that was never going to happen, and I am very grateful I found the show (thanks again to Alafair Burke, who told me I’d love it in the first place and she was right). I’ll miss AFC Richmond, but…am grateful that I got to know them all. It was simply magic.

We also watched a George Michael documentary–not the one Paul wanted to watch, alas; we’ll watch that one tonight–and then I had to catch up on the Vanderpump Rules reunion, which was hilarious and fun and reality gold. I also loved that almost every commercial break featured a commercial with Ariana Madix, who is having probably the best revenge tour in the history of reality television.

I slept well last night, and this morning I feel rested and awake and ready to go; first time this week, alas, but what can you do? The book is progressing nicely; I may even have time to revise it one more time before it’s due to be turned in. I have a big weekend coming; a weekend of writing and reading (I want to finish Chris Clarkson’s marvelous That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street so I can move on to the new Megan Abbott) and cleaning. I want to get the car washed this weekend and vacuumed out, I need to get moving on the scanning project, and I should get another box down from the attic to go through. I need to drop books off at the library sale on Saturday, too. Sounds like I am going to need a to-do list specific for the weekend, doesn’t it? I’m also going to have some things delivered, I think, on Saturday.

I feel good this morning, about everything, which is lovely. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when I sleep well, isn’t it? And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Friday Eve, everyone!

Fifty-Fifty Clown

Yesterday wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t pleasant. I slept well but didn’t feel completely rested, and we were in ozone advisory for most of the day. The air conditioning at work isn’t functioning properly–it was 76 degrees when I got there in my testing room; 82 when I left–and it was also muggy; it rained late in the afternoon. Muggy and warm are a toxic combination for my sinuses, so that was making me miserable for most of the day. I ran errands after work, and picked up my copy of Beware the Woman, the new Megan Abbott, which is now next on my TBR Pile. Then Ted Lasso dropped later than usual, so I couldn’t stay up late enough to watch it and thus will have to avoid social media all day…which isn’t really a bad thing. I did work some on the book as well, but I am not sure if it was good work or not because I was out of sorts with the day.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, as the T-shirts used to say. Do they still sell those in the tourist shops in the Quarter? I wrote about that in the first Scotty book, the French Quarter that used to be, just after the turn of the century. It had already changed and evolved from when we first moved here, some four or five years earlier; perhaps some of it was just me getting older and my own life situation changing. But I do remember how raggedy and dive bar-like Cafe Lafitte in Exile used to be, when that balcony wasn’t the safest place in the world to go out on while drinking. The 90’s were a different time entirely in the French Quarter, although I do wonder sometimes if I am doing the “rose-colored glasses” thing about New Orleans in the 90s. (Writing about that time period–Never Kiss a Stranger–does bring it all back to me in some ways, and I do hope that I’m not simply being nostalgic about the time because I’m writing about it.)

I’ve decided to cancel the cable appointment. The schedule at work this afternoon filled up quite a bit during the day yesterday, and it’s working for now. I know I’ll get irritated when and if the Internet proves to be an issue again, but here’s hoping it will happen when I can schedule them to come out when it won’t interfere with my job. I don’t think I slept very well again last night–surprise–but I can make it through the day. I can come home straight from work and watch Ted Lasso when I get home because Paul’s working from home today to write a grant anyway. (It did occur to me last night that I could just have Paul deal with it since he’d be home, but Paul has no idea how to talk to the cable people and it’s easier just to cancel, with a reschedule planned if needed.)

We also finished watching Chicago Party Aunt, which we really enjoyed. It was surprisingly funny–and the dynamic between the low-rent Chicago sports fan version of Auntie Mame and her gay nephew was surprisingly well done, and also hilarious.

Feeling rather dull this morning, so I am going to bring this to a close and head into the spice mines. Have a lovely Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.

Love Profusion

Pay-the-Bills Wednesday has rolled around yet again, Constant Reader, and so later on during my lunch break I’ll take some time away from my food to start paying the bills due between now and the next time we get paid. I am also looking forward to this three-day weekend we have on the horizon; I’d completely forgotten about Memorial Day. Do gays from all over still congregate in Pensacola over Memorial Day weekend, to party on the beach and get sunburnt in places that usually never see the sun? I know there aren’t nearly as many circuit parties today as there used to be, back in the heyday of the 1990’s, when it seemed like there was one every weekend somewhere; Southern Decadence still happens, of course (I’ll be in San Diego for Bouchercon this year) but I don’t know about the others. I know Hotlanta died a long time ago; does the White Party still happen at Vizcaya? In Palm Springs? The Snow Ball? The Winter Ball? The Black and Blue Ball? Cherries in Washington? I suppose the time and need for these parties has passed for the most part–they wouldn’t be dying out, otherwise–but at the same time, it’s all a part of the history of our community, and I do hope it’s been documented somewhere. The circuit parties were easy to condemn and point fingers at, but anything that helped create a sense of community as well as provided a safe space during difficult, repressive times for gay men to be themselves and be as gay as possible deserves to be, and should be, remembered.

After all, that was the world that kind of spawned Scotty.

Hmmm, perhaps a future-Greg project? Yay! Because that’s just what I need, another project.

But the revision continues to progress quite marvelously, if I do say so myself. I should probably write more Scotty books because it’s so lovely to get back into his mind-space, you know? He’s so cheerful, and always so upbeat and positive…and even when he gets down because of whatever problem he’s gotten himself into, he doesn’t moan or whine, he just rolls up his sleeves and figures it all out. That’s why I like him, and why his readers do. I wish I could have that reaction to things…I don’t. I always have to curl up into a ball for a while before I can even consider getting on with things. Maybe someday that will change and I can absorb and handle shocks and surprises with Scotty’s flair and aplomb. I’m not holding my breath until that happens, either.

I slept really well last night–yet another good night’s sleep in the books, I think I am on a record streak now of sleeping well–and feel pretty rested this morning. I was awake before the alarm went off this morning, and then hit snooze a couple of times to give my mind and body the opportunity to wake up slowly. We watched the new Ted Lasso last night, which was more of a Jamie Tartt-centered episode, and my word, seriously: how did Jamie Tartt become one of my most beloved characters on the show? Last night he made me laugh and he made me cry; and I love his friendships with Roy and Keeley, who are also slowly (hopefully) inching towards a reconciliation. There’s only one episode left–after which I may have to do a complete binge rewatch, from start to finish. It really is quite a marvelous show, and I do love that the gay storyline ruined the show for the homophobes. The mark of a truly good show is you aren’t sure how you feel at the end of the episode, despite having enjoyed it. Was it good? Did the stories make sense? Were the performances good? How was the writing? It’s one of the reasons I watch every episode twice; once to enjoy and go along for the ride, the second to appreciate the acting and the writing and connect even further with the episode. This season I’ve noticed some bashing of the show on Twitter (and not just from homophobes), which was why I started rewatching; to see if the haters were right and I’d overlooked something out of my deep affection for the show (I can also watch more critically the second time). I am pleased to report that the haters are, indeed, always wrong. I am really going to miss this show, but I get the sense that the season finale will be incredibly sad yet satisfying. They have a long way to catch Schitt’s Creek for best series finale, but I suspect they will be able to do it.

I’m curious to see what spin-offs might twirl out of the show. I’m really hoping Jamie gets his own show; I’ve really developed a huge crush on Phil Dunster, who might just pry the supporting actor Emmy out of the death grip Brett Goldstein’s had on it these last two years. The development of his character arc has just been phenomenal–all of the characters, really, but Phil Dunster has really been given the chance to shine this season (and some of last) and I do sometimes think he might not be taken as seriously as an actor because–well, because he’s damned good looking.

Since Monday was an odd day, I am having trouble this week keeping track of days. I keep thinking today is either Tuesday (which makes no sense) or Thursday (which kind of does). I’m looking forward to getting some more good work done on the book tonight–and if Paul is late getting home, I am so watching the Vanderpump Rules reunion’s first part. I need to devote an entire entry to the insanity this reality show–which I actually stopped watching years (and I do mean years) ago–has spawned. I had started writing about Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after its season completed; I think I can easily do both shows in one entry since both have spawned scandals that became news (a sad commentary on the state of our news media, frankly), which brings up the question of audience enablement–if the ratings go up when people are really despicable on a reality show, aren’t we just encouraging more of the same?

Questions, questions.

And on that note I am off to the spice mines. Have a lovely middle of the week, Constant Reader, and I will be back tomorrow.

American Life

Friday Eve! Or Thursday, in actuality. But we’ve made it this far, with just today and tomorrow to get through before sleeping in on the weekend! Huzzah! I slept decently last night–not deeply, not that wonderful “I’ve turned into a log” coma-type sleep, but it was good enough that I don’t feel tired this morning, and I actually was awake before the alarm. It’s ridiculous how much more awake I feel when I don’t get up to an alarm–and how much less resentful I feel.

I also woke up to an email that the Nancy Drew action figure I pledged to support through Kickstarter reached it’s funding goal. I got the one from the cover of The Secret of the Old Clock, where she is wearing a green outfit, is holding a screwdriver, and looks (according to That Bitch Ford) about forty years old. Given that Nancy will be a hundred this decade, forty’s not a bad look on her.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got home, worked for a few hours, and then repaired to the chair to rewatch this week’s Ted Lasso (which was marvelous) and then we finished off Shrinking, which is one of the funniest shows to come along in a long while. I talked about this the other day, and the quality and high level of writing and acting continue through the final episode, which was also one of the greatest (and most unexpected) literal cliff-hangers I’ve seen in a long while.

I have been watching, with growing alarm and disgust, the recent right-wing war on anything non-Christian (which is hysterical, because nothing they believe is Christianity: you shall know them by their acts) and especially everything not straight and not white. Who knew straight white people were so fucking fragile? (Everyone non-white and non-straight) They also have incredibly weak faith in their Lord and Savior; because anything that might challenge that belief has to be eradicated, made not available, and swept under the rug and hidden from view because it makes them uncomfortable. What I would like to say to all of these people is mind your own fucking business. The hypocrisy of beating the drums and warning people about how they’re aren’t haters “just worried about the children! Won’t someone think of the children?” (Yet they are also the same people who believe everyone should be armed to the teeth and that school shootings are A-Okay with them because you know, ‘slippery slope’ and all that. Of course, they use the First Amendment for toilet paper but hey, newsflash! The Founding Fathers considered everything in the first more important than the second, otherwise GUNS would have been the First Fucking Amendment, wouldn’t it? No, they deliberately made it the second because the rights and privileges granted in the first were more important.)

The other day, a friend in the Queer Crime Writers’ group I belong to posted a screenshot of the age restriction requirement on the home page of a small but highly regarded lesbian press, where you actually had to plug in your birthdate in order to gain access. This was done to reduce potential liability in such states as Texas and Florida that have been passing unconstitutional, flagrantly Fascistic laws–laws that are deeply unpopular, but merely designed to advance the presidential aspirations of their deeply unlikable governor, who has the charisma of Ted Cruz and the charm of Matt Gaetz; nothing turns out the bigots like a fear that other people might be as equal in the eyes of the law as they are. This was horrific–but small queer presses don’t have the money or resources to fight these draconian, restrictive laws; one complaint from some skeevy parent in Florida whose pastor is probably molesting their children but oh no queer books! is what they see as the real problem. The demonization of trans people–directly tied into their stupid notion that transwomen and drag queens are the same thing (repeat after me: not all transwomen do drag–is the exact same thing as the crusades against gays and lesbians (not that far back), and is the same song, different verse. And why not go back to the scare tactics that have always worked? The piece of shit “libs of TikTok” woman is nothing more than a more modern, less talented Anita Bryant (she was a bigoted bitch, but I will give her credit for her singing talent; she actually had a successful career as a singer and spokesperson for the Florida Orange Growers–Florida again; it’s always Florida–until her bigotry destroyed her career. I have no sympathy for her, so don’t even try it. She deserved worse than divorce, bankruptcy, and public scorn.); the insidiousness of straight white women leading homophobic movements (see Maggie Gallagher) is predicated on motherhood; they are just mothers worried for their children! Won’t someone think of the children? (Unless it’s school shootings and legislation that might make a difference–doing nothing clearly isn’t working–in which case, who fucking cares about the kids? GUNS! MAH FREEDUM!)

These are indeed scary times, in which the complacent Left has allowed the rise of Fascism on the right, and even now isn’t doing enough to fight back against it; when small presses that have been doing the heavy lifting for queer books when we are not in fashion at the big houses could be fined and/or punished by a state for the crime of selling books on their website. (The irony of this happening to Bywater Books–who later took it down–whose DNA goes back to Naiad Press which was based in fucking Florida, is something you couldn’t put into a book. (In times like these, I miss Barbara Grier. Barbara would have ripped off deSantis’ head and shit down his neck.) This brings up several legal questions–which should be left to the lawyers–but it seems to me these laws and restrictions are not only censorship but also violate interstate commerce laws as well as the full faith and credit article in the Constitution.

It’s so tiring to be constantly having to explain to people why you deserve to be treated like a human being.

It occurred to me last night before I went to bed that I need to use this little platform better than I have been. I am sure anyone who reads my blog probably is on the same page as me politically; I can’t imagine this being a safe space for a bigot. But I’ve not been talking much about politics here, not in a long time at any rate, because I’ve always been of the mindset that it would just be preaching to the choir. Anyone who knows anything about me, or has read my books, should know where I stand politically. That I oppose bigotry and prejudice of any kind. That I believe that all Americans should be equal in the eyes of the law; that it’s the government’s job to intervene when something in the public sphere reaches crisis stage–whether it’s recovery from a weather event, health care, or violence. In a capitalist system, the government has to step in when the system fails to correct it.

But now we have a Supreme Court that seems determined to roll back the clock to the “good ole days” when non-white non-straight non-cisgender people were invisible–and it was socially acceptable to mistreat them if they weren’t.

For the record, your freedom ends before it infringes on mine.

Age restrictions and requiring adult permission to check out books dealing with queer or racial issues in this country essentially renders all that work–regardless of its intended audience–as pornography.

Queer characters are automatically pornography, because that’s all the “christians” think about when they think about queer people–dicks in asses, tongues in vaginas–which is frankly kind of creepy and revolting. I don’t look at straight people and wonder, does she like to do reverse cowgirl? Does he like it when she pegs him? because it’s none of my fucking business. I’m sorry you people are so frightened by sexuality and the mere thought of sex–but maybe try not thinking about it for a minute or two? My sex life is none of your business just as yours is none of mine. There is nothing more invasive that government intervention into your sex life.

Talk about slippery slopes*! Straight people also do oral and anal. Straight people are also into kink, threeways, orgies, leather, BDSM, you name it. And if we the people allow the government to legislate our sex lives…don’t you think it’s entirely possible they’ll come for yours someday? Why not outlaw oral and anal sex (sodomy laws are still on the books in some states, including Louisiana…those laws are never enforced on straight people, quelle surprise). Why not virginity laws? Or a virginity tax you only have to pay once you’ve had sex? If this sounds insane or crazy to you, please bear in mind that this is precisely what Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, among umpteen others, are trying to do.

It was nice, though, actually feeling like a full-fledged American citizen there for a few years. I should have known it would be a fleeting feeling.

*Of course, the only slippery slope the right cares about has to do with the Second Amendment, or as I like to call it, the Eleventh Commandment.

Nothing Fails

Wednesday and we’ve made it to the midpoint of the week. Huzzah? Perhaps. I didn’t sleep all that great last night–I am expected to crash really hard this afternoon–but oddly enough I feel rested and okay and alert this morning, and I am still on my first cup of coffee. Who knew? Last night when I got home from work i buckled down and worked for a bit; I am still behind on everything but I am hoping I can get this manuscript I am editing today finished and back to the author, and then I can sort of maybe get back to my own. My publisher has pushed the publication date back, which is lovely yet not something I am terribly proud of–I feel like I allowed my personal situation to interfere with work, which is something I’ve not done since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina–but while I was able to work during a pandemic, personal grief managed to derail me so fa this year; but it’s also not fair to blame it all on grief because I was already way behind on everything when Mom actually died. But I am thinking this is really a great thing. The revision, when I was able to do it, was going pretty well; but I wasn’t working the way I usually do which is partly why it was taking me so long to get it done, and I think with a new, later deadline, I can go back to the first chapter and start over again; and do it the way I always do and get it finished.

Paul had a board meeting last night so was later getting home than usual, so I wound up staying up later than I usually do so we could watch this week’s episode of Ted Lasso, which, while having sad moments, was overall a joy to watch. I hate that the season is winding down–which means the series is winding down as well–but I am hoping for at least one spin-off. I love all the characters on this show, even the minor ones; so much characterization and care has been taken with the creation and development of every character on the show, and that has always been its strength. (I still can’t believe that Jamie Tartt has become one of my favorite characters of not just the show but of all time. So many people in the cast deserve Emmys…I hope the producers are smart enough to toss some of them into the Guest Actor categories; certainly the young man playing Colin deserves some recognition for his moving and nuanced portrayal of a closeted soccer player; I also hope he finally introduces his boyfriend to the team as his boyfriend; maybe the series finale?)

I also got some potentially good news that I have to be vague about this morning; there’s no guarantee that the new opportunity that may have opened up for me will come to fruition, but it’s always nice to have something nice happen? Especially in this business, where it seems like you never know where things are going to and nothing is confirmed until the ink dries on the contract, so…yeah, have to be vague if nothing comes of it. But even if nothing does come of it, it was deeply satisfying for the potential to drop into my inbox yesterday. I am very lucky, I must admit; it’s very hard for me to ever feel bitter (or at least, never for very long) about my career because it’s always been charmed, almost from the day I sold my first short story back in 1999; opportunities keep coming my way and it’s been an absolutely lovely joyride. It’s also funny, because I was talking to someone recently about how the good things in my career have usually happened during dark personal times; so I never seem to get to enjoy the good things when they occur. Maybe it’s some kind of karmic balance I need to keep; ma’at, as the Egyptians used to call it–most of the time everything is even, but when things swing too far to the bad in the personal, the professional side of things always seems to pick up for some reason? I don’t know, and it could all turn out to be nothing, but it’s nice, nevertheless. It’s always nice when people are interested in more work for you. And being the socially awkward/insecure person that I am, it’s always a huge relief when someone you’ve worked with asks you for more work; I always worry that I’ve been a pain in the ass to work with…and I don’t want to be one of those people.

My blog post about the origin story of my The Horror photo turned out to be popular? Who knew? I didn’t think it was that interesting of a story, but everyone seemed to enjoy reading about it. It was just something I dashed off during my lunch break yesterday because I was feeling tired but had to wait for my Lean Cuisine (Swedish meatballs, for the record) to cool, and I thought why not write about how that picture came to be taken? Why not indeed?

And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely day, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow.


Tuesday morning and it looks like we managed to survive Monday somehow. It was ninety-seven degrees yesterday when I left the office–but the humidity hasn’t started getting super bad yet. After getting the mail and making groceries, I was exhausted by the time i finished unloading the car and putting everything away. And it’s only May. It’s funny how we forget the brutality of summer when it’s not summer her, every single year. It’s always a shock how hot it gets here when the summer heat returns in late spring…and how much it saps the energy right out of you. I did manage to get some work done last night after putting everything away, and then I repaired to the easy chair after a ZOOM meeting to be a kitty bed.

We started watching Shrinking last night on Apple TV, and it is really one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. I believe it’s written by Brett Goldstein, aka Roy Kent on Ted Lasso, and stars Jason Segal and Harrison Ford. Once it hits its stride–the pilot episode was a bit uneven–it becomes absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this (maybe they are, I am notoriously oblivious, after all) but it’s terrific. Funny–and the humor comes from the characters and who they are, rather than situations, which makes it richer and more human, I think. Jason Segal plays a therapist whose wife passed away about a year before the show opens, and he’s questioning everything about his life, including how he practices therapy with his patients, and decides to be more active, proactive even, in his treatment of them. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it is always quite clever and funny and enjoyable. He also has an estranged relationship with his daughter–his grief was selfish, and he wasn’t there for her when she lost her mom–and their neighbor, Liz, has kind of taken over taking care of Alice the daughter, so he’s trying to rebuild that relationship as well, while navigating his gratitude to Liz for stepping up–complicated by the fact she won’t let go or step back. Like Ted Lasso, it’s about relationships and learning how to navigate grief–in Ted Lasso, it’s the grief of the failed marriage, in Shrinking, it’s grief over a dead spouse…but the primary takeaway from the show so far is something I’ve noticed, and a friend who lost her spouse about six months ago and I have been talking about, is the lack of conversation and discussion about grief, how to grieve, how long one should grieve, the guilt you feel whenever you have a good moment or something nice happens to you (“I shouldn’t be having a good time!”), and so on.

We have a billion dollar industry built around grief–the mortuary business–and yet that’s all about the public display of grief, rather than the intimate experience of it. Ah, capitalism. I’m actually surprised no one has figured out a way to monetize grief, really. Or maybe that’s what the mortuary business is? If so, at least in my case, it’s gone horribly wrong. The service in Alabama at the funeral home was absolutely lovely, don’t get me wrong–but it didn’t provide me with any closure or answers or much of anything other than the ability to share sadness with the rest of the family (and I do pity the relatives who didn’t come or even call or anything; that is something Dad will never forgive. I am a little more understanding, but totally get where he’s coming from and can appreciate and understand it. He worshipped her and he saw that as a slap in her face, right or wrong.), so I don’t know.

I don’t know much about anything, really. Almost every day is a reminder of how little I know and how little I understand. But life really is a learning process; I hope to never stop learning and evolving and growing until the day my heart finally gives out as well.

And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Have a lovely Tuesday, and I will check back in with you again tomorrow.

Little Star

Well, here we are on bleary-eyed Thursday morning and I am swilling coffee and hoping to wake up more. I slept very well, but this is the usual late-week battery running down kind of tired, the way I always feel by the end of the week. I was tired again when I got home from work yesterday, so didn’t get very much accomplished last evening. I have a sink full of dirty dishes I’ve been ignoring, a dishwasher full that needs to be put away, a load of laundry in the dryer and another full basket of clothes to launder as well. Heavy heaving sigh. I really just want to curl up into a ball and go back to sleep and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t exist, but it is not to be.

I did, in my tired stupor yesterday, did manage to watch this week’s Ted Lasso again and it was just as lovely and charming and delightful the second time around, and I did catch some things I’d missed the first time (my favorite was when Jan Maas said “statistically there should be more than one gay person on the team” and everyone looked at Jamie, who just smiles and says “I’m flattered”). This show is really such a delight; I am always in a much better mood after I watch it. The character development and story arcs have just been phenomenal, and the attention to every little detail is exceptional–the developing friendship between Jamie and Sam, for example; not a major story in the scheme of things, something extra and small on the side, yet also incredible for showing the character development of them both from the first and second seasons when Sam couldn’t stand Jamie and didn’t want him back on the team. We’ve also started watching an adorably funny show on HBO MAX called Somebody Somewhere, which is set in Manhattan, Kansas and focuses on the most endearing odd characters. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it at first–shows about oddballs are always iffy for me; I wanted to be sure we’re laughing with the characters rather than at them; otherwise it’s too mean-spirited for me, and this show is definitely not that. It’s kind of hard to describe; maybe as I watch more I’ll get it sorted in my head.

I’m hoping that I’ll get my act together this week–the jury is still out on that and it’s already Thursday–but now I am at that “I have so much to do and so little time to do it in so I will never get it done” paralysis that usually comes right before my brain snaps to attention and starts working at an insanely impossible speed. I don’t know why I always do this to myself, but it happens far too regularly for my liking and I really wish I could change my ways to not be like this anymore.

You’re sixty-two, Greg, or rather, almost sixty two (I always add a year to my age after New Year’s), what are the chances you’ll be able to change your methodology at this time in your life? Heavy heaving sigh. But one can always dream, can’t one? I am going to head straight home after work today because I have a ZOOM thing tonight with some friends and I need to clean the kitchen–or at least hide the dishes in the full sink…no wait, I remember! I learned how to blur the background so I don’t have to clean the kitchen! (But I do still need to clean the kitchen if I’m not too tired…)

Ah, well, such is life. And now into the spice mines….have a lovely Friday Eve, Constant Reader.

Beautiful Stranger

Wednesday and it’s Pay-the-Bills Day again; how does time pass so goddamned quickly?

We were in a flash flood advisory yesterday evening when I left the office, and on my way home I could see that at some point yesterday some of the streets I traverse every day had flooded at some point in the afternoon. I did get a little work done on the book yesterday, but was ultimately forced to surrender to fatigue and repaired to the chair. I was also still feeling some of the after-effects of the Anthony nominations being released on Monday–was still getting congratulatory posts and emails and messages, which I had to acknowledge; everyone is so kind and lovely. So many people are delighted and happy for me, which always comes as a surprise. I guess you never really outgrow the PTSD from being a queer kid?

But I also got to see this week’s Ted Lasso last night (they drop on Wednesdays, but we always can get it at 8 pm central on Tuesdays on Apple Plus) and it was maybe one of my top five episodes of the entire series. Yes, I’m partisan, and yes, I am prone to love anything well-done with gay themes and yes, I am also very highly critical of gay themes in film and television. Stop reading now if you want to avoid Ted Lasso spoilers. When it was revealed earlier in this final season that Colin was actually a deeply closeted gay player I got a bit excited. I’d wondered if the show would address homophobia in sports, and what’s it feels like to be a closeted gay professional athlete, and it was handled so beautifully. The scene with Trent Crimm and Colin talking about it in front of the Homomonument in Amsterdam was just brilliant, and then last week Colin’s friend Isaac grabbed his phone from him to delete nude photos (long story, but YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING) and of course saw his text conversation with his boyfriend. Isaac just gave him a disgusted look and walked away…and my heart broke a little bit for Colin. I know that feeling all too well–the friend who becomes a former friend once they find out or you come out to them (and yes, coming out is a process that goes on for your entire fucking life)–but it’s Ted Lasso–I knew this wouldn’t turn out badly, and it really didn’t. Yes, I am biased, but this episode is one of my favorites of the entire run of the series; everything was clicking and humming along the way it usually does–this season has felt a little uneven–and everyone was pitch perfect, from Roy to Ted to Keely to Rebecca to Higgins to even Nate, whose redemption arc I am enjoying. Yes, I was disappointed when he turned in Season 2, but I am delighted to see that he’s still the same Nate, still figuring things out but at heart a really good guy. And Roy’s growth and development–courtesy of a swift hard kick in the pants from Rebecca–is epic. The end game of the show is now in sight, and I think we’re all going to be delighted with the direction in which it’s going to go. I hope there’s a bit with Trent Crimm doing a book launch for his book on the season and Richmond and Ted’s philosophy of coaching. I cried a few times during last night’s episode, won’t lie–and I absolutely cannot wait to watch it again when I get home this evening. I have to run some errands on the way home–post office and prescriptions–but I am hoping I’ll get home and be able to have a lovely evening of writing before I wind up turning into a cat bed.

I don’t feel tired today although I had a relatively restless night of sleep–sorta sleep as I call it, where your mind feels sharp the next day but physically you’re tired. I need to start stretching (and yes, I know I’ve been saying this for months) but it does help keep you nimble and loose; the aches and tiredness comes from tight muscles, and the best thing to do with tight muscles is stretch them. Maybe I should put that on the to-do list? I didn’t want to get up this morning–the bed was incredibly comfortable and I felt really relaxed–but I can look forward to not getting up to an alarm on Friday morning.

And on that note, I am heading back into the spice mines. Thanks again, everyone, for all your kindnesses about the Anthony nominations; I still can’t believe it myself, you know? Three? Madness. Have a great Wednesday, Constant Reader, and I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.