Sunday, December 30, 2012
Friday, December 28, 2012
“Les Misérables is soooo faithful.”“How faithful is it?”“It’s so faithful that even the Bishop who gave Valjean his silver told it to lighten up.”
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Though I have been a long time supporter/volunteer/walker at the New York AIDS Walk (check out my posts from a few years ago to verify this), this will be the first year I am acting as captain of a team, and so I want to double my efforts to make this a productive year of fundraising (and fun-raising- get it?). I am pleased to announce that The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (another non-profit near and dear to my heart) will be walking as a team in this years Walk in and around Central Park on May 20th. As promoters of the comic book and cartoon arts, MoCCA is well aware of the tremendous toll HIV/AIDS has taken on the artistic community, and feels its support of this annual event is the least MoCCA can do to stand in solidarity with our colleagues and friends who have been personally affected by this ongoing health crisis.
I ask on my personal behalf, on behalf of MoCCA, and on behalf of the GMHC and other organizations that benefit from this annual fundraiser, that you consider making a pledge or joining us a walker this year.
The great thing about walking with MoCCA is that you will not only be eligible for the usual AIDS Walk premiums- you will also receive a free MoCCA T-Shirt to walk in (and keep), and, if you raise $100 or more in pledges you will receive your choice of one of several pre-selected cartoon, comics or graphic novel-related books. If you sign up as a member of the MoCCA Team, any funds you raise will be credited to both yourself and MoCCA. You are not obligated to raise any money, but we would love to have you walk with us under the MoCCA banner! To register as a member of the MoCCA AIDS Walk team, sign up online at the AIDS Walk team page and make sure you sign up as a member of “Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art,” Team 0344. Or, contact me (Christopher Stansfield) at firstname.lastname@example.org or (646) 385-5464 and ask to be added as a team member. This can be done even if you’ve already signed up individually as a walker.
If you don’t have the time to walk with us or raise money for the MoCCA team, please consider donating to a MoCCA Walker or the Museum directly. All proceeds are distributed to the GMHC and other New York-based health organizations and every contribution goes directly to the prevention and cure of HIV and the support of those already suffering with HIV/AIDS. To contribute, please logon at my personal fund raising page and make a donation. Again, supporters who donate $100 or more in individual contributions will receive a free comics, cartoon, or graphic-novel related book.
If you’ve already contributed to another walker or team, we hope you will consider forwarding this email to friends and family who might be interested. Feel free to post this information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or anywhere else people might see it! And, if you’re already walking or a member of another team, please let me know- MoCCA and I would love to walk in solidarity with other organizations who are fighting against HIV/AIDS!
Thank you in advance for your support of AIDS Walk New York 2012 and the MoCCA Team.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
|Tune In Next Week|
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
|"Do. Or do not. There is no try."|
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
|All You Need is Love|
Something I want #2: I want to stop being embarrassed about the love I have to offer. I know there are some people who think I have no sense of embarrassment at all, but I’m not talking about my ability to make bad jokes or get very drunk and say inappropriate things. I’m talking about the embarrassment I have had for a long time about “putting myself out there.” In the past, when I have reached out to friends and potential friends, I have been shot down enough that I adopted an attitude of “let them come to me.” It seemed sensible at the time, especially since I have been told directly that there are people I’ve reached out to who actually don’t like me very much. So, even though I don’t hesitate to make the occasional wry comment or political argument or curmudgeonly quip, I have avoided letting people know just how much I like them and want to be friends with them. It can look desperate.
There is, of course, another side to the coin, however, and that means knowing who deserves that love. Eventually, you have to know when to give up. This may sound mercenary, but the truth is that we only have a limited amount of time and resources for people. Those resources should ultimately go to people who care as much about you as you do for them. Do people deserve second chances? Sure. They even deserve third ones. But it is time to stop worrying about whether people like me, or why they don't like me, or if they like me as much as they like other people. If people are not going to give back what you give out, then start giving it out to someone who will.
This year, I am going to be less afraid of reaching out to people – and less guilty about walking away.
Next: The last part of the series. Why Yoda was right.
Monday, January 17, 2011
So, to recap, celebrating a new year got me in the mood to look back over the old one –and I ended up getting two for the price of one. 2009 was dreadful. 2010 was an improvement in every way. But why, then, do I sometimes feel so crappy? I have a job. I can pay my bills. I even have a social life. And yet, the same words keep coming up when I want to describe the down times. Lonely. Unattractive. Unfulfilled. Treading water. Do those feelings ever go away, totally? I don't know – probably not. But I think it's time to try to do something about them, or at least mitigate them.
Which brings me back to 2011 and, inevitably, resolutions. I’ve tended to be one of those people who think New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time, and so I rarely make them. And yet, after the year I’ve just had, I’m finally beginning to see the point. It doesn’t matter if the promises you make to yourself are impossible to keep. It doesn’t matter that they are inevitably broken. It doesn’t matter that you end up making yourself guilty over not accomplishing them once the New Year comes around again. What matters is that you have some kind of goal in the first place. To borrow – okay, steal – from a forty-year-old Broadway musical, when you blow out the candles on another year you should “want something. Want something.” So, keeping in mind my current employer’s insistence that goals should be “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound,” here is what I want in 2011.
Something I Want #1 – I want to care about my appearance. I’m not saying I want to become narcissistic or shallow. I’m just saying that a person needs to look like he gives a damn.
2009 was depressing. Not clinically – I’ve experienced enough clinical depression to know it when I see it – I’m talking about perfectly legitimate and justifiable misery. When you don’t have somewhere to go every day, you stop dressing to go out, and you stop doing anything that requires that you look in a mirror. When nobody wants to see you, why worry about how you’re seen?
As I said, 2010 was better. I found a job, and I ended up with a boss who doesn’t really care what I look like. That's to his credit – I’ll never know if any employers passed on me because of my weight or my thrifty suits or my thinning hair, but I know enough about the world we live in that I wouldn’t be surprised that they did. So, that's one big thing from 2010 to be thankful for – but between the inertia carried over from 2009 and the fact that my office is less-than-strict about appearance, I can’t say I’ve made a whole lot of effort to look my best.
Well, in 2011 I want to start caring again. What does that mean? Sure, it means losing weight like everyone else on Earth wants to do, and I’ve already gotten a jump on that by walking every day and rejoining the gym. But it also means putting in my contact lenses more often. It means shaving every other day instead of whenever I feel like it. It means getting a monthly haircut, and trying Rogaine, and putting my Toppik on even when I’m reasonably sure everyone I’ll be seeing has already seen my bald spot. It means saving up to get my teeth whitened. And it means dressing up occasionally, even if I don’t have to. I have some great ties- why should I only wear them when I’m forced to? I don’t need to look like everybody else does, but I want to start looking like I actually looked in a mirror before walking out the door.
If you don't look like you care about yourself, why would other people think you could care about them?
Next: Being unafraid to love, and being wise enough to let go.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
However, the point of New Year's, arbitrary though it is, is how it forces us to do a little bit of looking backward and a lot of looking forward. So, that’s what I’m going to do over the next few days, whether I like it or not – and if some of what I see is relevant to other people, that's just gravy.
Personally, I have a great deal to be thankful for about 2010, but it also somehow makes me feel a bit guilty. While 2010 was not by any means all I wanted it to be, the fact of the matter is that my year was a hell of a lot better than a lot of other people’s, and it was also a hell of a lot better than my personal 2009 was. After all, I spent 2009 the way many Americans did: in perpetual anxiety. There was no period of more than a week during which I could be sure of a living income. I took advantage of unemployment insurance for the first time, but the money I received didn’t cover my rent, let alone all my other expenses, even when combined with the money I got from the occasional temp work I was offered and the editorial and pet-sitting services I advertised (to very little effect) on Craigslist and social networks. In 2009 I dropped the gym first, then cable television, then high-speed Internet, then Netflix, then almost all social contact, and I was still broke. I spent hours a day looking for work and only hours a month performing it.
I'd become a temp in the first place because it was difficult finding permanent employment – what was I supposed to do now that even temporary employment was unavailable? I wouldn't wish my 2009 on anyone, but the truth is I don't have to. No doubt, thousands of people were going through the exact same thing. Now, when I hear politicians talk of how unemployment benefits make people “lazy” and take away their incentive to look for a job, I’m tempted to punch in my computer screen – except on dial-up their speeches take so long to load that I’ve usually gone somewhere else before I hear what they have to say.
So, at the beginning of 2010, I was unemployed; broke; single; heavier than I’d been in several years; very lonely; facing the likelihood that my time in New York was coming to an end as well as the possibility I’d begin my middle-age years as a tenant of my parents. On the other hand, as of January 2011, I have been employed for eleven months; I have a tiny-but-existent financial “cushion”; I am (slowly) losing weight; I socialize again; and I still live in the same crappy apartment I’ve been living in for a decade-plus – though I’m still single and I still don’t have cable.
Am I still lonely? Sure. Do I look the way I want to look? No. Is my apartment open-house ready? Not on your life. But when I think of where I am in my life compared to where so many other people are in theirs, I can’t help feeling grateful, even though my life is not exactly what I want it to be. And that's the key, I think. Even if your 2010 was like my 2009, you can probably find something that went right. And all you need is one thing to build on.
Up Next: Improving 2011 By Improving Me
*If this post seems familiar to you, it means you've been reading - thanks! However, more than one person has told me that my post yesterday was too damn long and too damn self-centered. It was suggested that I might have more luck if I re-wrote it in serial form. If you already made it through the long version, feel free to skip over these. But stay tuned - after I'm done with this series, I'll be making an announcement related to the future of this blog and my future as a writer.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Today, the new Republican leadership announced from their newly-regained bully pulpit that a new day is dawning. They will work hard to ensure we enter a new era of smaller government -- one that is less involved in our lives and less expensive.
This is a great thing- Who isn’t in favor of less intrusive government? Who wouldn’t prefer that the government spend less? Wouldn’t you?
Well, wouldn’t you?
Are you sure? Are you sure you’re not some Commie European? Answer these questions and find out!
1. Did you think what happened in New Orleans a few years ago when there was bad weather was peachy?
2. What about what happened a few years later in the Gulf of Mexico?
3. When the banking system completely collapsed under the weight of its own greed, was that cool with you?
4. Are you a fan of Enron? How about Goldman Sachs? Bernie Madoff?
5. Do you think the democratic system works better when corporations are allowed to spend unlimited money on political races? Is your favorite expression, “What I don’t know can’t hurt me?
6. Do you think when our wars are fought by contractors it’s better than when they’re fought by our armed forces?
7. Do you think unemployment benefits are too generous? Social security makes us less secure? That Grandma should just suck it up and prioritize whether she wants to eat dinner or to take her pills?
8. Has the infant mortality rate gotten too low for your taste?
9. When we find out beef is tainted do you just switch to eggs? When the eggs turn out to be diseased do you switch to dog food? When the dog food turns out to be bad are you okay with just eating your dog?
10. When Mom loses her insurance for stupidly actually getting sick, do you tell her she should have just worn a scarf?If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’ve passed! You like smaller government! Give yourself a gold star and keep voting Republican!
Of course, if you think smaller, less intrusive, less expensive government has anything to do with staying out of a couple’s wedding plans (no matter their gender); letting women control their own reproductive organs; letting people who wish to serve their country become soldiers even when they're not attracted to the opposite sex; letting people smoke what they want to in the privacy of their own homes; avoiding multi-trillion-dollar "pre-emptive" wars; or letting people live their lives free of the fear that the government can read their email, listen to their phone conversations, and lock them up any time it wants to – well, you’re clearly an idiot who has no idea what small government is all about.