Dangerous Thoughts: Reflecting Women’s March 2017

I’m calling this thought on the one-year anniversary weekend of the his(her?)storic Women’s March, a Dangerous Thought because an Iron Law of Thing (hat tip to Harry Shearer) is that men must tread lightly and try to avoid mansplaining when opining on things like the Women’s March. I may get it wrong at points along the way and wind up mansplaining, but I have thoughts, I have a blog, and it’s safe for work…so let’s do this.

Since the election of pussy-grabber Donald Trump, one could make the point that things haven’t gotten much better and unfortunately, the progressive movement has been going after its own complicated and imperfect allies in the form of wealthy male liberal-types who compartmentalize their own unacceptable (and in some cases criminal) behavior away from their support for the greater good.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re creeps, but taking them down isn’t going to fix anything.

I had to go to the Women’s March by myself because every lady I suggested it to had other plans and every dude I suggested it to had other plans, but hey, to each their own you know? I wound up seeing a lot of them at the Women’s March anyway (or snapping selfies and checking in there) so it’s good they wound up going.

The march, for the most part, was people out having fun, snapping selfies, checking in on facebook and instagram, etc. In fact to be honest, I felt like it was less of a protest and more of a celebration, and that may be part of the reason that things haven’t gotten much better.

This is a group that’s marching on its home turf…and that’s not a protest. It’s not Selma, it’s not Kent State. No minds are being changed. Trump isn’t paying attention because it’s not happening in his constituents’ areas…except when it did in Charlottesville and people got hurt. So then everyone went back and decided to protest in safe spaces after that.

People living in Rock Hill, California aren’t calling the cops on street racers in Torrance, California, and you see the same thing here. It’s part of the fundamental reason political polarization is taking place: nobody’s getting out of their comfort zone to spread their word to the opposition.

I only saw one demonstrator there who, in my humble opinion, captured the true spirit of protest and what was going on:

That’s a powerful message right there. She was the only one there who I thought was speaking truth to power. I regret not going up and talking to her, but I didn’t want to disturb her.

But other than that, it was pretty much all smiles and fun and DJ’s and upbeat funny positive signs:

  • Smiling

For a while after the protest I followed the Women’s March site and I thought their 10 Actions for 100 Days was an excellent attempt at creating structure for the movement, but I watched it quickly crumble when people weren’t following the rules or really adhering to the steps in the Actions. People just don’t seem capable of sticking with parameters and this is where things go so wrong.

At a Yahoo Conference once, the surprise guest speaker was Steve Jobs and somebody asked him some variation on how Apple makes such great stuff (actual question unknown) and Steve responded that, at Apple, they have “The List,” and on “The List,” are ten items, and those ten items are the only things Apple focuses on. If it isn’t on the list, Apple ignores it. Sometimes the list changes, but it’s a hard fight to do that.

By the time Women’s March had reached the third action, following directions had gone out the window. Listening to NPR journalists (the only news I follow anymore) who covered the 2018 Women’s March, they all had trouble extracting from marchers what the point of the march was and what they hoped to accomplish. This is one of the problems with the movement, but it’s really not my place to provide the solution.

And so now we find ourselves in the midst of a reboot: 1 year later, another nationwide march, promoted by tastemakers, with people showing up to have a good time, check in on social media, and snap selfies with friends, and maybe, just maybe, finding some structure in all of this and focusing on being on the right side of the future, not just the present or history that will be forgotten if the victors are on the other side.

High resolution photos can be found in my Gallery.

Also, please support Women’s March. Much like with any movement, the organizers are doing the right thing. It’s the followers who need to do better.

Movie Thoughts: Phantom Thread

One simply cannot talk about how good the movie Phantom Thread is…unless they’re an old person with gray pubes, a shortcut to NPR on their iPhone 5C home screen, and a proclivity for crushing up and snorting lines of niacin tablets. I have an iPhone 5C lying around somewhere but I swear I have a newer iPhone now so I’m not gonna talk about Phantom Thread. I’m still young dammit.

So now I’m going to break rules (unlike Reynolds Woodcock) and review this movie in spite of the fact that I’m still young (dammit):

It’s just about a relationship between two people, but it’s brilliantly shot using vintage equipment that could make this a film as easily made in the 60’s as today, although arguably harder nowadays in an ecosystem dominated by Arri and RED cinema cameras. There’s this lovely and heavily contrasty grain that’s not unlike watching beach sand swirl in water and the use of natural light is superb.

Anderson peaked with Magnolia, one of the greatest movies ever made, in my humble opinion, and hasn’t made something as consummately perfect since then, but I do think this one was a return to form after The Master and Inherent Vice, which were both movies about seriously messed up people.

To be fair, all his films are about seriously messed up people. I guess I don’t have a point, do I?

I think I’m having a hard time articulating why I liked Phantom Thread because I don’t wear New Balance 990’s and go to Meetups. I should have stopped while I was ahead.

Go see it. Jeeze.

Sad Thoughts: RIP PF Chang’s in Burbank

The other morning, I noticed this sign outside PF Chang’s:

This makes me sad. I am far from an alcoholic, I’m a lightweight in fact. My poison of choice is probably coffee, but even coffee I can’t stomach after 10:00am. That being said, I was very sad to find out that P.F. Chang’s had closed the doors of the location in Burbank, California.

You see, I’m not a big drinker, and because of that, it only takes a couple for me to not feel so great the morning after imbibing with friends, and everyone knows the cure for any hangover is terribly awesome greasy food.

*Disclaimer – I know it’s not actually a cure. There is no cure for a hangover the same way there is no cure for being born straight.

**Double Disclaimer – There is, of course, Hangover Heaven if you happen to live in, or be near the area it serves.

With all that being said, PF Chang’s was an excellent hangover placebo. Their Lo Mein consistently made me feel better and left me with such a fond memory that I typically would go back roughly three days later and order it again…and regret the hell out of that second visit, swearing I would never be hung over again.

This sort of thing typically happened to me once a year, and I almost found myself looking forward to it, but alas, no more.

I wildly speculate that this was not the result of people not going there (PF Chang’s appeals to a lower-but-not-lowest common denominator, and thus, is is usually pretty full of people, but rather, it could be that Chang’s decided to pull out of their lease after the Burbank Town Center Mall failed to complete their renovation on time, and by on time, it was supposed to be done before Thanksgiving 2017, and is nowhere near being complete.

Of course, there are no winners here, whether it’s the staff of the restaurant (who hopefully got reassigned to other nearby locations…but probably didn’t), mall patrons, regular diners, casual diners with one less option , or sad sorry hung over folks such as yours truly looking for a little comfort on their day of suffering, nobody comes out ahead here.

With any luck, the new tenant will serve up a similar style of salty greasy goodness that brings joy. That’s all one can hope for.

Movie Thoughts: Den of Thieves

I went and saw Den of Thieves this afternoon and it’s worth pointing out that it was completely sold out all day on both screens it was showing in at the local multiplex which is scientific proof that not one woman in LA who participated in the 1 Year Anniversary Women’s March was able to get her boyfriend or husband to participate alongside her. But then again, we’ve always known that this is the dynamic in relationships.

With that bit of social science fact out of the way, let’s talk about the movie itself:

There’s nothing new under the sun so saying Den of Thieves is basically Heat isn’t enough and just makes you a dime store movie watcher if that’s the best you can come up with. Also, it’s good so just saying it’s Heat doesn’t acknowledge its twist. While it still may not be as good as Heat, it’s still good! So here are my thoughts:

It’s the goldenrod draft of Heat recut in iMovie while sipping on brotein & brown rice smoothies as you shop for a new ford vehicle (but can’t decide between a Fusion or a Taurus) on Autotrader.

So basically at the end of the day today, it’s going to be tough determining which half of the American couple had a better day: Women who marched rightly in the name of empowerment and women’s rights, or their boyfriends who got to fantasize about guns and periwinkle-blue collar criminals with ridiculous criminal technology robbing banks with guns and high-tech stuff that no ex-con could rightly get his hands on.

Welcome to My Social Media

This post on social media is going to stay sticky for a while as an introduction to what exactly is going on here:

I’m leaving social media as a tool for sharing ideas and sharing content.

I’m tired of places like FaceBook and Twitter where all anyone does anymore is complain about politics and share false or temporary happy moments from their romantic relationships, all with the intent of being validated with ‘likes’ and comments and shares and re-shares.

And things aren’t getting better.

Continue reading “Welcome to My Social Media”