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Mistress Marilyn's POV
No shit, Tempus Fugit!
Recent Entries 
pug-exhausted
Just loaded 21 pug icons Charlie made me today. So cute! Unfortunately, this leaves me with only four spots left for new icons, which won't be enough. And I cannot choose what icons to delete. Icon Crisis!

Took Sister Sue to the dentist this morning to have a bunch of her teeth pulled. She was a trooper, despite the horrible traffic and the fact we had to go to the pharmacy and wait around to get her pain pills. Don't get me started on why the dentist can't make sure you have the pills IN ADVANCE so you don't have to do this, narcotics or not. And I couldn't believe how weird the woman acted about the fact I couldn't hang around and take care of Sue afterward. "She needs ice packs," she told me. I was sitting there in the tiny lobby, working on editing a book that's due to the publisher in three weeks. "She has an ice-maker at home. I have to get back to work," I said. I heard her go back to Sue and tell her, "She says she has to go back to work," like I was lying or something.

Listen, I'm happy to take time off during the day for my sisters. I do it whenever I can. It's my top priority, and they both know it. But I have a lot of work to do, even in the summertime. If I'm out (on vacation or sick or whatever), I know I have to make up the time somewhere. There's nobody who can take over for me, and the work waits until I get it done. I really don't mind that I had to stay at work until nearly 8:00pm tonight, because I'd be there that late ANYWAY. But I didn't appreciate being made to sound like I was leaving my sister in the lurch.

It's hard to see someone you love suffer in the first place. And it's harder still to drive them around while they're suffering. Still, as is often the case, it turned into a joke for us. Sue couldn't talk and when she did, I couldn't understand her. So she was writing stuff out on a pad of paper, and I was reading her notes when we stopped for lights. Then when we were sitting at the pharmacy, we managed to have a hilarious conversation about why it takes so long to slap a label on a prescription and count out 15 pills, despite the fact Sue couldn't even talk!

Anyway, this day overall was long and annoying, even without being held up in construction traffic four times this morning. The good news is, even though it's almost 3:00am, I did get the first five chapters of the book reviewed (why has he only made half of the changes I gave him from Chapter One?) *and* I held an important internal meeting this afternoon with the Communications team. We've already put together a great schedule for our big projects next spring. And I managed not to be a complete bitch, despite my impatience about a couple subjects.

Missed mentioning Dad's birthday on Monday, August 6. He would have been 92, but thankfully he's tooling around heaven instead.

And later I'll do a post about Sister's Day, which was Sunday. This should be a bigger holiday!

And I need to catch up on the Olympics. I've been spamming Facebook about it. There are so many stories, so much drama, so much pathos, so much exhilaration. Big news today: Missy and Keri won their third Olympic gold! Go, Girls Over 30!


5th-Aug-2012 08:43 pm - Great Scot!
Murray-Olympics
What a Gold Medal performance! Loved seeing the Facebook posts, like the one from Rafa congratulating Andy, Roger and Juan Martin ... and ESPECIALLY Andy!

(Got the Silver in Mixed Doubles, too, which is a nice bonus!)



(Nice ad from adidas to celebrate.)


5th-Aug-2012 02:27 am - Strength Has Many Meanings~
workout (betty boop) : charliemc
In just a few hours, Queen Underwood will become the first American woman to enter an Olympic boxing ring. I guess she's not expected to win, since she's taking on a great British champion. But she'll make history, just the same.


Queen is from the Pacific Northwest--Seattle, to be exact--and she's become well known for her strength, not just physical. She and her older sister were both physically and sexually abused by their father repeatedly, until they had the courage to tell their mother and were removed from his 'care.' He served six years in prison for the abuse.

Queen has also worked as a woman in the construction world, a pipe-fitter, I believe. No doubt this took a lot of courage and strength as well.

I'm not a fan of boxing, but I'm going to be pulling for Queen. Hers is the kind of Olympic story that inspires, especially when you're looking for a story about breaking ground and breaking through.

Go, Queen!


4th-Aug-2012 02:18 pm - The Tweet Smell of Success~
alfred hand-on-face
Dear Olympic Athletes:

It's wonderful that so many of you have those fancy smart phones and are nimble enough with your fingers and your thoughts to be able to comment immediately about what's on your minds, even while your pulse rates are still racing with your Olympian efforts. Your followers have their phones ready to receive those thoughts and are poised to check them out, to interrupt their lunches and meetings and kids' birthday parties to see what it is you have to say.

Probably most of them are hoping you won't say something stupid.

I'd like to point out that the phone is called "smart" because it's able to do some really cool things. But it's not really smart. It can't do your thinking for you. And most importantly, it's not wise. And for the most part, neither are most of you. Since the majority of you are too young to have gained anything that even remotely resembles wisdom, you might want to consider some tactics to avoid continual controversy, embarrassment and even scandal.

Tell your friends or family FIRST about what you're feeling. No, not your two million friends on Facebook--your actual friends. Try out your comments on other human beings before you broadcast them to the Multitudes. Allow your successes or failures to flow through your own being before you float them out to cyber space.

Go ahead and defend your teammates, if you feel they've been slighted or ignored! Show them your support to their faces somewhere that's becoming all-too-rare in today's world: A Private Place. Someday you may have the chance to confront a detractor in person and give him or her a piece of your mind. If so, go for it. But don't try to do it with a pair of stumbling thumbs.

Yes, even when you aren't texting or tweeting, you will still say and do stupid things, things you wish you could take back. Your hubris or envy or even spite might come out in an interview, considering those microphones are stuffed in your faces before the sweat on your brow has time to finish dripping in your eyes. The media will have personified you and re-named you before you finish showering.

There doesn't seem to be anything we can do about that.

But you can always smile and shake your head. Say you're sorry. Congratulate the ones who defeated you. Console the ones whose dreams you dashed. Be the bigger person, be a better person. For a couple weeks at least, try to live up to the Olympian ideal, the one that's existed a lot longer than your world record will.

We're glad for you that you won. We're sorry for you that you lost. We share your triumph and your pain. That's why we care enough to watch. Believe it or not, we can actually imagine what you're feeling in those intense moments. And most of us prefer imagining it to reading it on the internet.

Use your phone to call the people at home who didn't have the time or the bucks to travel to London. That phone is smart because it's got all those numbers programmed in, and it can reach across the miles--around the curve of the Earth--and take your tearful voice with it! It can probably also surf and find contact information for your grade school history teacher, the one who first forced you to sit in a stuffy room while he or she tried to fill your imagination with scenes of the Ancient Olympics, while you were fidgeting in your straight-backed chair, itching to get outside and run around in the open air.

You were born to jump and run and swim and throw and shoot, spike and spar. You were born to compete. And we all hope that if nothing else, you've done the latter well.

Call Grandma with that smart phone.

Then put it away until after the Games are over.

Thank you.


2nd-Aug-2012 11:19 pm - Olympic Tennis is Golden~
Murray-Olympics
I'm not even going to let myself contemplate Murray winning the gold medal there in England during the London Olympics. This year's Wimbledon final was painful enough. I can't take the disappointment. Maybe he'll medal.

Still, I loved watching him play the first round of mixed doubles with the Brit chick, Robson. She was starting to melt at the end, but they pulled through. Fun!

And I won't wish for Maria to win gold either, because after she pulled out the French, I told myself I'd never care again if she won or lost. She has all four Grand Slams, and that's good enough. Still, I'll find it hard to believe if she doesn't medal, as she's all but guaranteed at this point.

Serena should win, if all goes according to form. But you never know with Serena. Sometimes she inexplicably crumbles. I believe the Williams sisters already have two golds in women's doubles, and they'll probably get another there.

I guess Rog has earned an individual gold. Rafa is resting his knees, and he already won gold four years ago. And Djokovic can win in Rio.

The best thing about Olympic tennis is that it's all been LIVE on Bravo. I just hope the coverage of the finals--which is on NBC--will also be live. I wonder if McEnroe or some other first string commentator will do the broadcast. Nothing against Justin Gimelstob and Renane Stubbs, but yeesh.

For the first time this year I got to see the men's semifinals from Wimbledon as it was happening, because the All England Club ousted NBC in favor of ESPN. It was so sweet. You wouldn't think it would be that big a deal in this day and age, but I actually never thought it would happen in my lifetime.

(Have I mentioned lately that I HATE NBC?)

Anyway, it's been far more enjoyable than I anticipated. And isn't it perfect that it coincided with my vacation week, so I could happily watch (or even snooze through) the 4:00am to noon coverage every day? Bonus!


1st-Aug-2012 11:58 pm - Catwoman Rises~
Catwoman-smile
So, I spent much of my childhood as Catwoman. We were DC Comics kids, and she was not only a great character in the Detective and Batman comics, I loved the Julie Newmar portrayal on the old Batman TV series. She managed to be both camp and poignant at the same time, unabashedly in love with Batman while unable to control her nefarious impulses.

And she was gorgeous, with a figure that defied the laws of nature.

I was scrawny and far-from-sexy. But I was game, and I had a good imagination. And I was willing to use my fake knock-out gas to capture Batman and Robin (Johnny from the neighborhood and Charlie) and lock them up in our hot garage to wither during a summer afternoon.

In our games, Catwoman always won.

I groaned when I heard Nolan was putting Catwoman in the final installment of his trilogy. Oh, no! I have pretty much hated all the other portrayals of Catwoman over the years. And I expected to feel the same about this one.

When I saw that the Catwoman costume in TDKR was going to emulate the one that once was so well worn by the well-endowed Newmar, I was thrilled. And afraid. How could Anne Hathaway--a nice but not very alluring actress--hope to fill those ... er ... shoes?

When I saw her on the screen, she was nothing less than a revelation. Those big brown eyes, those ridiculously long limbs, those soft, real breasts and those luscious red lips... And she could really act, could really make us care! For me, Catwoman stole the show.

Forget Rachel.

Selina the Cat is a perfect match for our tortured hero.

And I certainly never expected to say that!


31st-Jul-2012 12:36 pm - Reality Writing~
sunny blue sky (animated)
I had a very realistic dream this morning that I had pounded out two really quick Dark Knight fanfics. I think I was writing them at my laptop at the beach.

Yes!

This is going to be prophecy!

I have got to get my hand back in it, inspiration or no. Some of my best stories have come when I was totally lacking in a real inspiration.

Maybe a nice long ride in the sunshine will fill my mind with ideas.


31st-Jul-2012 10:42 am - He is Risen~
Catwoman
Went to see TDKR again last night.

I gotta say, it's really kinda perfect.


30th-Jul-2012 12:22 am - Shattered Dreams ~
Bang-On
It broke my heart watching a 17-year-old girl's dreams shattered in London today. I couldn't help thinking back to being in my 20s and losing a job I really wanted, and how terrible I felt for a time. I was as close to 'depressed' as I've ever been, because I thought this particular job would really make me happy.

Years later, I'm amused by my reaction. And the result of losing that job was the action that took me back to the place I currently work, the place I first worked right out of high school for a couple seasons, then later returned to after college. The rest is history, at least for me.

Because of that loss, I gained. But even when it was happening and I was hurting, I knew it was just a moment in time. My own failure. Witnessed by nobody but those who knew me best.

I have a feeling Jordyn Wieber will never look back on today's loss as anything but a devastating end to her life plans. I dread the thought that she'll go on to a 'real life' of bitterness or something even worse, as she's now been denied the opportunity to become America's darling, the latest athletic munchkin to become a beloved pitchman (or pitch-chick) for feminine hygiene products and the Breakfast of Champions.

And, of course, there's that desire to win. To be the best. To hold that individual gold medal in those determined, calloused fingers.

And let's, for a minute, allow ourselves to bitch about the system that denies the top 24 gymnasts to compete, head-to-head. For some reason only the top two of any national team are allowed to advance. I don't get that, but then I don't get any of it. Unless somebody falls off the beam or steps out of bounds, I can't tell if they did well without the accompanying histrionics of the experts. That doesn't make it any less interesting, of course. It's high drama and tension, even if you don't know the names or the backstories. Part of the time, I can barely watch, identifying with the poor parents who are digging fingernails into their scalps up in the stands.

Here's a scenario: How about the failed World Champion actually wins our hearts by sucking up her disappointment and showing her mettle in the team competition, out-scoring everybody in sight. How about she comes home after the Games and is lauded up there with the Best of the Best, recognized for her ability to overcome loss and make something great of her life. Maybe she becomes an example of that unsung hero of the Olympic Games, the proud competitor who redefines the concept of failure by glorifying the joy of participation for its own sake. Like IOC President Jacques Rogge said at the Opening Ceremonies:

And to the athletes, I offer this thought: Your talent, your dedication and commitment brought you here. Now you have a chance to become true Olympians. That honor is determined not by whether you win, but by how you compete. Character counts far more than medals.

If only character were as highly valued.


25th-Jul-2012 10:36 pm - Her Cheatin' Heart~
tyler-smoking
It might be time for Rob to seek solace in the arms of Taylor ...

Just sayin'.



24th-Jul-2012 11:52 pm - Powerless Parenting
alfred hand-on-face
I'm not a parent. I never will be. I can't pretend I know what it feels like to wake up in a cold sweat, wondering what your son or daughter will grow up to be or even if they'll make it home okay from that party or that date. That infamous phone call in the night and a voice at the other end of the line intoning those words that everyone dreads.

I can't imagine--and I don't think anyone really can--what it would be like to wake up and hear that your son has just committed a horrible crime or has just been arrested for something unthinkable, like rape or molestation or even murder.

The truly helpless victims are unsung. They're the family members that many unfortunately will blame. What's it like to be the parents of Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bunday? Do you blame yourself for something you didn't realize was happening to your child as he grew?

I just watched a movie called Beautiful Boy, the story of parents whose son goes on a killing spree at school and then commits suicide. The movie did not dwell on the horrible details of the crime. It was all about the ruined lives of the parents and their hopeless quest to find an answer to just what went wrong with their son. It was about blame, fear and guilt. It was about the difficulty of finding forgiveness, especially of ourselves.

It was kinda heartbreaking.

My thoughts go out tonight to parents everywhere, to parents who have done their best and tried their hardest to raise their kids in this complicated world. I know the latter sentence does not describe all the parents on the planet ... if only it did! But even those who try can fail. Because free will is undeniable. And it manifests early, earlier than the law allows. And the human psyche is complicated and unpredictable.

I hope the world will show mercy to these silent victims. Because even the ones who appear stoic and aloof are suffering in ways we will never comprehend.

I didn't really get all of the movie. But I appreciated the muted, pained performances by Maria Bello and Michael Sheen. And even though I didn't really like their characters, I wished them peace and healing and some vestige of hope.

Because you never know.

Tonight just before 9:00pm I heard the sound of my own mom, gone a dozen years now. Her grandfather clock started to chime. On the rare occasion that happens, I wonder what she might want to say if she could. Tonight I hope I never gave her too many anxious hours and too many sleepless nights, worrying and wondering. It couldn't have been easy, not for her or for anyone who chooses to become a parent.



23rd-Jul-2012 02:27 am - My LiveJournal Rises
garcia-still-mayor
Just spent the laziest weekend of the year, just screwing off, watching TV and napping. No trip to the beach, no eating out, NO WORKING! Two sick cats seem to be getting better.

And me? I'm out of shape and more than a little out of sorts. I want to start writing fanfic again, and I'm going to learn to use iCloud and my new iPad keyboard so I can start blogging again. I need to get motivated to something more than work and shop. As of last month, this journal is official TEN YEARS OLD. Holy shit.

We survived the midnight premiere of TDKR, but I thought that simply meant managing to stay awake through a LOOOONG, sometimes slow movie. I didn't think we had to watch out for crazed gunman. I can't imagine the horror. Or I can, and it kills me. Am I the only one who wonders if the people in that theater (how many were there--why don't they tell us that???) will ever see the whole movie? And if they ever do, what will they think of it?

And speaking of the movie, I've tried to imagine how it will inspire my fanfic. I think the main fanfic topic would be what happened those eight years since the last one. I get that Harvey is dead, even if I find that as hard to take as Aaron Eckhart does. So what was Mr. Recluse up to that did all that damage to his body? Obviously his mind was dreaming up the source of energy/inadvertent weapon/whatever-the-fuck-it-was thingy that we all knew Bane was going to get his hands on eventually.

May I just mention that Anne Hathaway is the best Catwoman of All Time. She totally shocked me, and took my breath away. That's coming from someone who spent many years of her life as Catwoman. THANK YOU for using the Julie Newmar-inspired version of the costume. And THANK YOU for making the actress take it seriously. She was the real breath of fresh air that ran through the monotonous minutes of GRIM.

On the life front, I cleaned out my home email and found a message from an old friend and colleague who let me know her Jack Russell Terrier, Jack, had to be put to sleep early this month. Charlie and I both cried when we heard it. We often wonder what happened to Jack. It's hard to believe that he was 15 years old! We remember him as a puppy. Anyway, I haven't heard from this woman in years, so it was a complete surprise. It was nice of her to let me know the sad news.




22nd-Jul-2011 08:50 pm - Let's Blog, Already!
me-burger
Time to get back to writing and blogging. I've had plenty of days to get through the gradual withdrawal from WORK. It's hard to believe this year's season was even worse than normal.

I've managed to convince my Yahoo email to get my notices, even though Qwest will not pass them through our email. This should help.

In the meantime, two friends dumped me off their flists frostbit_sky and heartofslash. Not sure if they did cuts or what, because I haven't been around. I've had heartofslash on my flist for years. Oh, well.

I'll never get the friends list thingy, but that's just me. I come and go at LJ, and I have for years, but I'm still here. Sorta. And I've never dropped anyone, unless there was some sort of ugly situation. Luckily those are few and far between.

We took a gorgeous drive up the gorgeous Gorge tonight. We finally are having a few days of summer. While the rest of the country cooks, we're barely in the 70s.

I've got to get myself to get back to unpacking boxes. There's still lots of work to do!
24th-Apr-2011 01:18 pm - LJ is Back!!!
patrick-hand
Maybe you didn't realize that LJ had been gone for around two months. Maybe it seemed like it was *I* who was gone.

I never realized how much I relied on notifications to play at LJ, but the fact is, without them I just COULD NOT bother to post, much let comment. I will now have to go back to previous entries to see if there were comments, as well as search out all my fanfic (!!) and see if there was any feedback to reply to.

When Charlie told me we were getting notifications again, it felt like Resurrection-style news, not to be irreligious on Easter. I had nearly given up on LJ altogether.

Just like I've almost given up on feeling good, as it's been three weeks since I was anywhere near normal . . . collapsing at work two days before my birthday and taking an ambulance ride to the hospital was almost as horrific as spending days feeling as sick as I ever have in my life. Believe me, I'm going to celebrate when both Charlie and I are healthy again. (I'm lowering my definition of feeling 'healthy' to a simple standard: the absence of not feeling like shit.

Welcome back, also, to skylightdance; glad to see you did a re-name and kept your LJ. I also need to tell you again how much I appreciated your wonderful gift. It was so generous of you (and Debbie) to send us your artwork. A gift that shares your talent is a very special gift, indeed.

And thanks, annaed770 for the Easter virtual gift. Hope you--and all my flisters who celebrate the Resurrection--are having a wonderful holiday.



20th-Mar-2011 09:55 am - Here we go again . . .
lj-cut me some slack
It's been more than a week since I posted. I never put up my post about seeing Fed and Rafa in Eugene a couple weeks ago. I haven't updated about all the stuff going on with Japan fund raising and our Sapporo delegation coming next week. I haven't shared all the work drama.

If I don't get back on the bus, I'll be left in the dust. But that's the hardest part.

I am not going to let this season get me down.

Friday we announced our grand marshal. I stayed in the office to try to get work done, but I'm still about ten hours behind. Then Tuesday we're announcing our new event, so the next two days will be CRAZY.

Today is the first day of spring, but it was 61 degrees in the house when I got up. (Which is very cold for us.)

And I'm getting *NO* notifications and haven't been for weeks. I have no idea if people are commenting to entries (which is easy enough to check) or to fanfic (which is tougher) or to comments I make (which is impossible). This is beyond annoying, and evidently it's not going to change, because Charlie has complained already. I guess we need to try changing emails and see what happen.



11th-Mar-2011 04:37 am - Horrifying News from Japan~
me-glowing: charlie_mc
Learned about the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan from an email sent by a local news source to our sister city website . . . called the board president to see if anyone is hearing news from their friends and family.

The surge is supposed to hit our coast at around 7:15. People are evacuating and some are heading to Portland. ODOT is opening the tunnel on Hwy 26 to let them through.

Praying for everyone.


6th-Mar-2011 07:11 pm - Remember the Alamo!
alfred hand-on-face
It was 175 years ago that Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Col. William Travis gave their lives at the Alamo, along with a couple hundred more Texians. Nowadays the whole thing is a little more controversial in a place where it's less than politically correct to villainize the Mexicans.

Still, it's a great story in American history, although it's important to point out that these guys were not trying to protect America; they were fighting to form a new republic, while the Mexicans were fighting to preserve one.


Our visits to the Alamo were my favorite memories of last year's trip to San Antonio. Sitting across from the beautiful shrine while we were watching the Fiesta Flambeau parade was really special. More picsCollapse )

Which proves I'll always be more inclined toward the drama of history, rather than the facts. (And, by the way, Laurence Harvey was a gorgeous Travis!)


4th-Mar-2011 02:22 am - Blogging along . . .
me-burger
Just finished writing the Legend of the Clown Prince and sending it to the communications team. It probably needs some tweaking, but it's a good start. We unveil our new mascot on morning TV next week, but I can't think about that today (or tonight, I guess). I'll pull a Scarlett O'Hara and think about it tomorrow.

Or next week . . .

I came home early (that means before 7:00pm) to try to get some writing done. (I never have one minute to myself at work these days!) Instead I fell into an exhausted sleep and didn't start writing until tonight. I finished one of the three projects due tomorrow.

There's nothing like waiting until the last minute. St. Expeditus, where are you when I need you?

I have to say it's been a relief not to post daily! (It's a good thing I never received the blog topic for March and got tempted to continue.) But I do miss reading the comments from my friends. I guess nothing's perfect.



28th-Feb-2011 11:59 pm - Can't help smiling~
me-burger
February is one blink away from history, and it will have been only the second or third month of daily blogging for me.

And I actually enjoyed the obligation, despite having to backdate a few times.

One last reflection on the subject matter that inspired me: Character is both a challenge and a reward. Development of character is something not left to the writer's purview, but to every one of us.

And as I fell asleep in the middle of Tim Burton's amazing version of Alice in Wonderland, I can't help but marvel at what it must be like to develop fictional characters whose names have become synonymous with traits we all share, like that occasional Cheshire Cat smile . . .


27th-Feb-2011 09:59 pm - Oscars Honor Great Characters~
dan-face
Fantastic Oscars this year, as satisfying as seeing Bigelow win last year. Yay, Christian Bale! Yay, Colin Firth!

And Christopher Nolan was talked about more than anyone else, by the Inception winners. That gave us lots of hot closeups.

Love RDJ and Jude Law presenting together. Loved Tom Hooper's reference to the guy love among them on 'The King's Speech.'

And one of my favorite moments? The hilarious musical sendups that included The Deathly Hallows and 'Doesn't he own a shirt?' from Eclipse.



26th-Feb-2011 10:54 pm - Amazing Young Women~
me-glowing: charlie_mc
I spent five hours today at our final judging session for our court . . . junior and senior girls from local high schools, and the three schools assigned to our room were the most diverse, including my own alma mater.

I was mesmerized by these women . . . Mexican, Vietnamese, Filipino, Romanian and one Muslim girl who wore a hijab. The latter spoke so passionately, her hands accentuating every word, her accent as beautiful as her words. One spoke of losing her father and being raped by her uncle when she was younger and how her suffering had made her a stronger person. Another called American the 'golden cage,' a land of opportunity where her father still felt trapped and couldn't understand how she had embraced her new culture.

This is today's Portland. These are tomorrow's women . . . mothers and workers and leaders.

I felt privileged to do my job today. I hope I helped make sure their memories of today were as positive as mine are.

My assessments came out close to those of the judges, and I was especially pleased with the results for my own school. It's hard to believe that in less than 48 hours we start announcing the results . . .


25th-Feb-2011 10:30 am - Shocking News~
Dan-praying
Heard today that a former co-worker was stricken at work last week, went into cardiac arrest, and another former co-worker had to give her CPR.

She's now in a coma, unable to breathe on her own (which does not sound good).

Both women are in their mid-30s, and the one taken ill has a five-year-old daughter. I pray that the one who attempted to save her will find the strength to persevere through the horrible experience, regardless of the outcome, without too much trauma. It's hard to imagine what this must have been like.

(I reminded our finance person today that, despite our budget woes, I want our office to have a defibrillabor.)


24th-Feb-2011 11:45 pm - Abuse is Infectious . . .
alfred hand-on-face
Our 'snow day' today wasn't all that snowy. I worked from home, but not all that much. We watched a two-part movie that we bought on line . . . hadn't seen it in several years, and we managed to get rid of our own copy. Called 'The Boys of St. Vincents,' it was made in 1992, before all the sexual abuse cases involving Catholic priests became so prevalent in the public eye. In this fact-based story, the boys referred to in the title are orphans abused by an order of Catholic Brothers in Newfoundland. The main character, Brother Peter Lavin, is played by Canadian actor Henry Czerny (the Duke of Norfolk in 'The Tudors').

(The following contains spoilers for the story, fyi.)

The first part focuses on the events inside the orphanage, and it's pretty well crafted. At first you don't know who to suspect, but your focus narrows on Lavin and his obsession with Kevin, a ten-year-old boy who at first seems uncomfortable around headmaster Lavin, then terrified by him. You're not sure whether the other Brothers are aware . . . they seem okay, overall, until their affectionate attention toward the boys takes a twisted turn. You suddenly realize at least two or three of the others are major abusers themselves, preying on several of the boys and brutalizing them. Lavin leers at the naked boys in the showers, but centers his physical attentions on Kevin. By the end of the first part, Lavin has been 'outed,' but just barely. The Brothers are transferred away from St. Vincents and their transgressions are buried in the bureaucracy of the Church and the Canadian justice system.

The second part is set 15 years later when the case has somehow come to light and the Brothers are arrested and prosecuted; we find Lavin married with two boys of his own. Yes, the major question about those two boys and his affection for them lingers throughout the story--and in fact is the last thing addressed between Lavin and his wife, a question left unanswered. This story centers on the psychological damage done to two of the original boys and the mental and emotional struggles of Lavin himself. The most compelling scenes are probably between Lavin and his assigned therapist.

In the end, nothing is really answered. There's no epiphany, no revelation that Lavin was abused himself, thus became an abuser. We do learn about his own upbringing, being orphaned, raised in foster homes and then in St. Vincents, afraid of sex and of love, purposely hardening himself to the cruelties of the world. He has made his mission in life to pass on this lesson to the boys he oversees. And for him, this passes as love.

Henry Czerny is an amazing actor. His Lavin is terrifying and tortured, controlled but occasionally vulnerable. In the end you almost expect him to publicly reveal himself, but he simply cannot. We do see him confessing his sin (to a priest), which could serve as his release. Kevin fares better, able to open his wounds in court and hopefully start to heal. We don't see Lavin convicted, but regardless of whether he goes to prison, his punishment is eternal; he has lost his family, his career and his reputation.

One of the most awful revelations is about another of the orphans who ended up an abuser himself, victimizing younger boys at St. Vincents as a teenager, then becoming a male prostitute and drug addict after his release. His tragic fate seemed not only inevitable, but obvious. It was made more interesting by the fact that this particular character seemed like the tough kid, the one more capable of coping than the fragile Kevin.

I found this Canadian-made television film really well done. It handled a horrible, potentially lurid subject in a decidedly human way, without the histrionics of a show like 'Special Victims Unit.' And it gave us at least three tragic characters to ponder, including the abuser himself.

ETA: Had to add a historical factoid. Charlie found this link to a list of criminal counts and sentences in Canadian cases of this kind of abuse. St. Vincents was evidently based on the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland.


23rd-Feb-2011 11:45 pm - Put a Bird on Her~
me-glowing: charlie_mc
I found it ironic to see this entry in western_writers tonight, since I almost bought the book 'Sacajawea' in the gift shop at Cape Disappointment this weekend.

(One of the reasons I didn't buy it was the size: Huge. Unfortunately I figured I'd never finish it, so I got a lovely little book written about the Corps of Discovery through the eyes of the Newfoundland Seaman, 'The Captain's Dog.')

Aside from having visited this spot over the holiday weekend, last week during my road trip to Astoria I ended up talking about Sacagawea with my two travel companions, a pair of ignorant white eyes. First I told them the correct pronounciation of her name (not "Sack-a-ja-wea," as we were taught in school), then I talked about how she was a hero of mine as a teenager. In fact, when I tried out for the Rose Festival Court my senior year, I was asked who my favorite historical character was, and I said Sacagawea, the Bird Woman who traveled with Lewis & Clark.

One of the men I was with had told a story about his grandmother having watched a statue of Sacagawea being placed at the turnaround in Seaside, where it was unfortunately dropped and broken. There's a statue of Lewis & Clark and Seaman at this spot, and I can't confirm the story about a previous statue right now . . . but maybe later I'll research it. It seems statues of the Shoshone heroine have had an even tougher life than she did.

On Sunday we drove past Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview on our way to the coast, one of the truly beautiful city center parks. (Here's a nice blog entry about that site.) I vaguely remember hearing the lifesized statue in the park was stolen at one time.

While I was looking around for a photo of a local statue, I found an article about the Fort Clatsop Sacagawea statue that was stolen and then broken up for scrap metal a couple years ago. The image below is supposedly its replacement.

22nd-Feb-2011 11:59 pm - Fiction is Stronger than Truth~
alfred hand-on-face
LOVED 'The King's Speech.' Yes, I briefly obsessed over the reality of the story, just as I always do, but despite the liberties taken with the timeline, I found it enjoyable as both a straight story *and* a work of historical fiction.

Colin Firth was wonderful, as was Geoffrey Rush. And both Charlie and I were surprised at how much we enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter as the future Queen Mum. By playing such a 'normal' character so well, she proved what a good actress she really is.

It was interesting to see the take on the whole Edward/Wallace Simpson thing, much opposed to the romantic version we Americans grew up with. I can remember our mom's take on it--later well dramatized on such shows as 'The Waltons'--where the abdication was seen as the ultimate courageous choice. In TKS, it's revealed as both a relief and a copout. Clearly Edward was not the right man to be king.

The character of the American socialite deserves further study; she definitely did not come off well in this story. But the actress certainly looked the part of Time magazine's first Woman of the Year (in 1936).

And, by the way, we definitely found it slashy. Gotta go find the fanfic cruisedirector has written and check it out!

On the reality front, we postponed Friday's press conference due to our imminent 'weather event,' and I did, indeed, lose patience with one of my most stalwart staffers. But all of this will eventually improve . . . and we got our grand marshal announcement scheduled and a positive answer on Astoria's involvement.

Progress can sometimes seem glacial, but it's definitely inevitable.


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