Posted in music, pop culture

RIP Eddie

My favorite Eddie Van Halen memory:

My older brother idolized him. When Eddie appeared on the cover of Guitar magazine in the 80’s, Scott bought a copy and brought it home. From paper, duct tape and a yard stick, he replicated the guitar, perfectly, drawing out every detail down to the knobs and frets.

Then he wired the stereo so I could sing into a very rudimentary microphone and hear my voice through the speakers. He even built me a mic stand. Karaoke wasn’t even really a thing then.

Our little brother completed our band – banging on feed buckets for drums.

We three kids were so very different, but music brought us together. Always.

RIP Eddie.

(I don’t know if this was the cover, Eddie was on so many, but we were still kids, I’d say early to mid 80’s).

Posted in Activism, advocate, badassery, CANCER, death, Equality, movies, pop culture

Goodbye, King

When news came late Friday night that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played King T’Challa in the Black Panther and Avenger movies, had died at age 43, the news hit me harder than I thought it would.

Boseman had been battling, unbeknownst to most, colon cancer for four years. This time had included the time he was working on the Black Panther movie. If you haven’t had cancer or a serious, debilitating illness, it’s difficult to appreciate what I consider to be a truly heroic effort to portray a hero. Each time cancer takes someone young or inspirational, I’m reminded I need to embrace more of the remaining life I’ve been given to live. This death cut me to the core. I’ve so much left to do.

I remember when the Black Panther movie came out and so many people of all races and lifestyles came out of the theaters crossing their arms in the “Wakanda forever!” sign. People of color walked out of that movie changed and inspired. Young black children finally had a Marvel superhero on screen that looked like them, that they could identify with. Someone strong, caring, extraordinary and human.

I was also inspired by the Black Panther. The strong women of Wakanda, who were in charge of the technology and protecting the King, made me cheer. These depictions of strong, intelligent women (of any color) shouldn’t be so few and far between, but they are. Shuri is the smartest in the room. Any room. Okoye and her crew could kick any man’s ass. Nakia is brave, and convinces the King that sharing their knowledge and wealth for the good of all is an important enough idea to allow it to stand between her and her relationship with the King.

Heroes don’t have to be the same color as you are to be inspirational, but I’m white and I have plenty to choose from if that is what I seek. It was about time that people of color had an extraordinary hero and a slew of capable, ass-kicking heroines. I can only hope another hero can rise on the shoulders of Chadwick Boseman.

What I hope people learn from Boseman’s short, but well-lived, life is that people can be heroes both on and offscreen and be an inspiration beyond what they intended or hoped for. Heroism and quality of character goes more than skin deep, and that is one of the legacies that Boseman left behind for all of us.

Rest in Power, King.

Posted in creativity, music, pop culture


Today one of my coworkers, who usually checks the news around noonish, blurted out, “Prince died!” I went on the internet immediately to verify.  It was true.

Ironically, I had spent the morning searching for and finding the video of a coworker singing, “Purple Rain,” during karaoke at the company Christmas party in 2014 to show one of the interns. She had just received them when I walked back to her department to give them the news.

After the denial wore off and other coworkers took their turns singing parts of “Purple Rain,” and sharing random thoughts and memories of Prince, I couldn’t get the song, “Purple Rain,” out of my head – and it’s not even my favorite Prince song.

My 2nd favorite Prince song is largely unavailable – it’s “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” from his 1995 release, The Gold Experience.  The song is not only beautiful and inspiring, it shows Prince’s amazing range.  I also have some of his recent funk and random jazz cuts in my collection.  He also wrote songs that he didn’t sing himself, like Stevie Nick’s, “Stand Back.”

So much talent and creativity packed into one mind and life.

Super Bowl halftime show – AMAZING.  Pouring rain, and when asked if he was going to perform in the rain, he said, “Can you make it rain more?”

My favorite song, though, is “When Doves Cry,” from his iconic Purple Rain album.  I was a freshman in high school when it came out, and the lyrics, which I sang with all my heart and pain, resonated with me.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that’s so cold? (So cold)
Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father too bold
Maybe you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied (She’s never satisfied)
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

Musical therapy.

When I came home tonight, MTV had cleared all their normal programming to show Prince videos and the movie Purple Rain.  I watched it in its entirety, which I haven’t done in years.

It’s odd, watching an iconic movie filled with such iconic music and persona when the force behind it all is no longer earthside. The performance seems fuller – as if the last breath of the soul finally made its way to the celluloid.

As I expressed in my post WHEN YOUR CHILDHOOD STARTS DYING, the grief is different, but it’s there in every note, video, and other expressions of sadness. Even now, as it appears that Prince’s death might (might) be drug related or suspicious, that doesn’t lessen his impact on people’s lives or my life through his art.

I believe there’s a fine line between creativity/genius and insanity or otherworldliness that is nearly impossible to walk and nearly impossible to understand or fathom. I think that line is what scares me the most when I find myself at my most creative and expressive. Artists like Prince (and many more) inspire me to walk that line regardless of the mystery and to trust the process because no matter what happens if we obey the muse, we bare our souls and may inspire, encourage, challenge, and change others around us.

As people around the world listen, watch, and remember Prince tonight, we will all remember that we have gathered together to get through this thing called life – and his genius was a big part of it.


Posted in pop culture



Tonight marks the beginning of the 8th series of Doctor Who.  Since 2005, I have watched this show, a dedicated fan who has an imaginary friend who lives in a blue box.

To start this season off right, I decided to share the Top 10 Signs You’ve Gone Whovian with all the newbies out there. Welcome.

10. You own at least 5 things with the Doctor Who logo on them.  

9.  You have moments when you are facing your fears when you think, “Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead.”

8.  You watch Doctor Who wearing your Doctor Who pajama pants.

7.  You have taken an Adipose doll through airport security. (yes, I took my “fat” on vacation)

6.  Your BFF meets you on vacation with her stuffed Tardis.

5.  You have the “Van Gogh Exploding Tardis” mug.

4.  “The angels have the phonebox,” and “Time Lord Academy,” are on some of your favorite t-shirts.

3.  Your love of Chucks was totally rekindled by David Tennant’s Doctor (though those were not likely Chucks).

2.  Your favorite color isn’t “blue.”  It’s “Tardis blue.”

1.  You explain time to people like this: “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”

Whovian and Proud!

Posted in bariatric surgery, pop culture, random, weight loss

TOKI THE ADIPOSE (the only fat I plan to keep)

I have many “mascots” that represent certain journeys in my life. I could think of none more fitting for this weight loss journey than an Adipose from the Doctor Who series. The Adipose are aptly created from adipose tissue, aka FAT. 

I named her Toki, which, in Japanese, means, “time of opportunity.” I am ready for this opportunity to turn my life in a radical new direction!

Look for Toki photos from my vacation in Tahoe this Fall.

Posted in commentary, politics, pop culture


When I was 19, I stood at the crypt of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and wondered if his dream would ever come true. Growing up in the midwest in a county that is still, as of the last census, 98% white, I was, up until that moment, unaware of the importance of Dr. King’s dream.

Walking the halls of The King Center, I saw the images and heard the speeches of a man who gave his life to the cause, the dream, that people someday would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin… which is a big leap for someone who grew up where nearly every person I knew or met was the same shade of white. I was overwhelmed, to put it mildly, to think I was part of Dr. King’s dream and spent the next few years endeavoring to understand why the dream was important to me.

I remember thinking, all those years ago, that I would never see a non-white President in my lifetime. Never. I’d seen too much injustice, heard people use racial epithets about people they didn’t know, just because their skin was a different color. I could never understand why people would choose to act that way, but they did… many because they learned to act that way at home or in their group of friends, and the hate and ignorance was passed down as easily and earnestly at times as someone passes on their faith.

I’ve been guilty of prejudice and it happens from both sides of the fence. Maybe my prejudices aren’t color-coded, but I still struggle with seeing everybody from every walk of life on the same playing field, let alone wearing the same uniform. At least I have come to the point in my life where I am willing to acknowledge my weaknesses and seek knowledge so I can be informed and make changes inside myself so I am part of the solution and not the problem.

When I heard Barack Obama announced as the President-Elect of the United States, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I cried. I watched as a crowd of thousands of people of all shades, shapes, and sizes cheered and wept together.

Regardless of political affiliations, I hope people can look back one day and see the significance of Tuesday night. I can pinpoint moments in my life where I remember where I was in crisp detail when history was made. The Challenger Explosion. The fall of the Berlin Wall. So many more.

Now I can add Tuesday night to the list, the night a giant leap was taken toward making the dream of unity come true.

Posted in politics, pop culture


I don’t care who you voted for, I just care that you voted.

Either way, no matter who wins, history will have been made. The first female vice president will be elected, or the first African-American president will take office. Either way, the result is encouraging in that this country is taking steps to break out of the mold it’s held for over two hundred years.

Minds are opening. Change is in the air. Though I early voted, I went out this morning and people everywhere were talking about the election, asking others if they voted. People early voted in record numbers and lines were long this morning as people waited to exercise their right to choose.

I will try not to watch so much election coverage, but I can’t help myself. I’m excited and hopeful for the first time since I have been old enough to vote. I am excited that the election has people’s attention and that people are talking and engaged and listening and thinking. This is one of the reasons I love my country and the privileges I have, but most of all, I have the privilege to choose.

I don’t care who you voted for. I just care that you voted…and if you didn’t vote, I don’t want to hear you gripe.

Posted in friends, movies, pop culture


This week, I received a shirt from my friend Angie in Ohio. Angie and I went to Anderson together many, many years ago. One night my junior year, the campus movie was The Princess Bride and though we had not heard of it, we decided for a dollar, could we turn down such inexpensive entertainment?

Phrases such as, “Have fun storming the castle!” and “Inconceivable!” have long outlived many phrases from that era of my life. Each time I’ve watched that movie since college (and I can quote it from beginning to end) I am thrown back in time to a collage of lively and fun memories and a group of lively and fun people.

Much to my delight, I received the, “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya…” t-shirt this week. I took it out of the box and showed it to everyone in my office and everybody started quoting the movie and a few brought up the book (that I have not read, sad to say). That movie is still shown on tv, and somehow I have two copies of it on VHS. Somehow, I think that in twenty years, I’ll still be able to quote unending lines from this movie.

I hope, someday, to create something that people will discuss, remember, or quote twenty or a hundred years down the road. A work that will encourage, uplift, and educate others, or make a a person laugh would keep it alive, and as a friend once said to me about his own creation, “I want to see it live.”

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, pop culture


This article comes from one of the foremost experts on the Harry Potter series, John Granger.

I’ve been looking for an intelligent answer besides, “well, it just doesn’t,” when someone insists that Harry Potter introduces children to the occult and this article reinforces that thought.

John Granger delves into the literary traditions of alchemy that are woven throughout Harry Potter, which is a far cry from the occult. Again, Mr. Granger explains it a lot better than I could. Here’s a sample:

The great irony in the objections that Rowling’s books undermine or violate the tenets of the Christian faith is that her books offer initiation, not into the occult, but into the symbolist worldview of revealed faiths (and sacramental religions specifically) and the dominant symbols and doctrines of traditional Christianity. Ignorance of alchemy and the larger traditions of English literature—not to mention the Christian understanding of the relations of faith and secular culture—has caused many to turn away a great help, perhaps providential, in the trouble and struggle we have to prepare our children for fully human, which is to say “spiritual,” lives.

I love that any book can lead me to other books and articles and in turn, learn more about myself and others… and learn more about other great literature and ideas.

All of this research and reading has reminded me that to be relevant in my pursuit of writing (and in other areas of my life), I must learn about, know, and understand the world outside of the Christian subculture and I that I must use caution to walk that delicate tightrope of learning about the world around me and taking what I learn and become an influence on the world, and not vice versa.

I don’t pretend to walk that tightrope perfectly, and I won’t pretend that I’m even close to getting it right all the time. I will, though, continue to add to the dialogue, and hopefully, we will learn from each other.

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, pop culture, Yahweh's fingerprints


I have had many opportunities this week to discuss Harry Potter with supporters of the Harry Potter series, and with those who still have reservations about the world JK Rowling has created.

One thing I have learned in my years of blogging and in creative discussion is that you can lead a horse to water, but that doesn’t make him a duck (with an ode to Ms. Depesto of the Moonlighting series). I can explain my beliefs and my opinions to those who hold opposite views, but I can’t make them, no matter how hard I try, change their mind, and I’m not going to jump down their throat about it.

Too many times in the past, I have bludgeoned people over the head with my opinion, because, after all, my way is the only way right? Only I have tapped into the great vein of knowledge about God and know beyond the shadow of any doubt that my human brain has interpreted everything God has shown me to be true and absolute – there is no room for other opinions to be brought to the table… I am the authority on everything! Mwah, ha ha!

And then God saved me from myself… from my arrogance and pride, from my tunnel vision and black and white existence and delivered me into the technicolor kaleidoscope I currently see the world through. I no longer separate the sacred from the secular (have you noticed that sacred is really close to scared?) and am able to see the sacred in the secular much more than many people are inclined or comfortable with. I consider this vision a true gift, but it’s a gift that not everybody embraces in me… and as God has worked that miracle in my life, I’ve cared less about anybody’s opinion of me but his.

I answer to him alone, and when I remember that, the freedom is a rush.

As I’ve been reminded lately, I am responsible to put the message/opinion out there, but I am not responsible for the reaction. It’s not my job to align anyone with my opinions. If you like what you read, fine. If you don’t, let’s talk. Maybe I have something to learn, or maybe God has something he wants to reinforce with the difference of your opinion.

Take heart, Harry haters. There’s room for both of us at the table. We’re both still Christians even if we come down on different sides of the issue. Just know that no matter how much you think I’ve gone off the deep end over this or many other things I blog about, my heart still belongs to God.

I still have a long way to go to truly understand thinking outside of the box and to make that my brain’s default setting, but at least my heart is now outside of the box and the God I know is outside of it, too, though that is a daily placement sometimes.

Believe me, the world is much more exciting and colorful out of the box than it ever was in it… or, don’t believe me. I’m leaving that choice up to you.