More Disney

The good?  More pictures!  We saw a few parades, including the one for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which would have been perfect if it had been warmer than 30 degrees.  Yep, you read that right.  The fake snow felt all too real (although it always looks beautiful when you don’t have to clean it off your car or shovel it.)

How appropriate…Frozen!

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This one was particularly funny.  My hip was killing me and I was freezing, and sitting on the curb.  Woody looked down at me, and hugged himself and shivered, and I nodded, and he did a belly laugh and waved.

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A much warmer parade a day or two later…including Mickey, of course.

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And Hook…

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Rapunzel (as in Tangled?)…great ship, btw….

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And Merida (good grief that girl looks the part!)…

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Pinocchio, glitter included….maybe they were bubbles?  Yes, yes they were.

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And some random shots of performers because the costumes and colors were just incredible….

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Ok, that took up a lot!  I will follow up with another blog and some pics from the night festivities and a little more of Epcot.   Oh, and a pic of some gloves from the Pirates of the Caribbean shop that someone wanted to see…because it was so cold I had to buy gloves!  🙂

Looking For A Home

Putting this out for a dear friend; PLEASE help find this pup a home.  He did have a home, but sadly, he does not do well with other dogs.  He’s a people person.  This was somewhat misrepresented by the shelter.  So, passing it forward again (and I’ve met and puppysat this guy, so I know of which I speak…while I myself prefer cats and only have room for a cat, he is the canine version of a snugglebug).

(From the former owner)

This love puppy is in need of a a snuggle buddy! Do you get cold during the winter? Are you a fan of movies and video games? Do you want someone to share your laid back lifestyle with? Do you like warm hugs? Look no further than Odin! He’ll fill all of these needs and all he asks in return is snuggles food and a potty break!

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3.5 years old. 55 lbs.  Pit mix.  Not a fan of rain or snow.  Big fan of hugs.  Has basic obedience training but can be stubborn (so yeah…he’s male.)

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Please help, contact 11th Hour Rescue and help Odin be a loved only-pup child.

So…Disney.

With the hernia surgery and FMLA paperwork and blah blah blah, of course, the magical things get left in the dust.  But I’m home, a bit sore and achy (altho for the first time in a month and a half, my sugar has dropped to normal) and bored because there’s a huge game patch happening, so I can catch up!

Everyone knows of my old anti-Disney stance.  But it wasn’t necessarily Disney I was against.  It was some of their practices.  I didn’t (and still don’t) care for how they take a story, and once they do it, it seems to become their sole property.  Yes, legally, THEIR version is their property, but Beauty and the Beast is a French folk tale, so its open domain for another version to come along.  Likewise, The Little Mermaid is Hans Christian Anderson…public domain.  Lewis Carroll…public domain.  Poe…public domain.  There’s a good article on Wikipedia for when various mediums become public domain (good info for artist friends to look into as well).

Now, as to those stories, I like Disney’s versions of them.  I truly enjoyed the park.  I grew up watching Wonderful World of Disney, and had a surreal moment when I was there, as I watched the fireworks over the castle: as a child, who would have ever expected I would one day be there, watching it happen?

Some of the rides/shows I did: Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Peter and Wendy, It’s a Small World (its actually easy to tune that song out if you play Metallica in your head), Na’vi River Ride, Living with the Land, Spaceship Earth, Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Jungle Cruise, the Little Mermaid….

Pandora!

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And the parades!  I’ll have to upload the zillion or so pics still on my phone, but Mickey’s Very Christmas Party (or whatever its called) was incredible.

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This picture doesn’t do justice to HOW FREAKIN’ COLD it was, after a torrential downpour the night before.  The fake snow was beautiful, and somewhat magical, except that I’m from upstate New York, and I just felt like I never left.  Things are blurry because I WAS SHIVERING.

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And that wonderful, wonderful iconic castle…

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I saw amazing puppet shows (the newer animatronics move so smoothly that they are utterly mindblowing) that make me want to be doing puppetry again.  The Little Mermaid Show…in Disney Hollywood Studios?…brought tears to my eyes.  The Ursula puppet/bot was astounding.  I didn’t get pictures because, honestly, I couldn’t stop watching long enough to dig out my phone.

Inside Gaston’s tavern, yes, lots of antlers used in decorating.

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Look!  Another parade!  Festival of Fantasy!  AMAZING!

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Which included Rapunzel

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And dancers…does this woman even have legs?

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There was also breakfast with Chip and Dale, and breakfast with Pooh and friends, and Rivers of Light and Reflections of Earth…again, need to load up more pics, in an upcoming blog.  But for now…this sums up what Disney did for my tired, aching soul.

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High Anxiety

Probably easier to explain my meltdown here.

Stress is tearing me up.  Stress at work, well, that’s a biggie.  Will I have a job in a few months?  That’s part of it, too.

Saratoga Comic Con is next weekend.  I always stress over Cons.  It’s what I do.

Then, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I go to Disney.  LOTS of walking, and I’ve been warned I will be left behind.  Actually, I’m ok with that.  While my back is considerably better, I still don’t have huge endurance, and anyway, it’s my first time there, so I won’t be shy about taking my time and soaking it in.  Then I come back, have a weekend, and BAM, surgery.

Not a lot of down time.

The thing with the surgery is twofold.  I’ve never had a broken bone, I’ve never been in a hospital except a trip or two to the ER for stupid shit, or to visit.  This is supposedly a one-night stay.  The other thing is the loss of control, or the uncertainty of the future.  I know the doc will probably answer most of my questions tomorrow but they are whirling around in my head like rabid moths.

When can I drive?  Ok, I can probably drive to the market but when will I be able to carry groceries?  How am I going to do anything?  Can I cook?  What if they find something else in there?  Can I shower?  I don’t have a bath.  People are inviting me to things…what can I and can’t I do?

OMG Voices in my head…SHUT UP.

Then of course, all the little things pile up on top of that.  The maintenance light in my car is on.  Great.  Who has time?  The weekend I’ll be free will be the 2 days between Disney and surgery…I doubt I’ll have the ambition or money to take care of it (although I suspect its something stupid yet expensive like the cabin filter).

The night I got in from Vegas, my pretty new ring from Woodstock fell off in the car.  Under the seat.  Fat chance of seeing that again.

I’m also thinking about giving up Cons.  I panick too much when I think for even a second I’ll have no one to help me, and it’s not a lucrative thing.  I’m not successful as an artist.  But I don’t want to give up, so that’s more stress.

But to those who offer their help, I must confess, I’m going to need it.  I hate to ask for help, and I hate to impose on others.  I always feel like I’m imposing (my self-esteem is a whole different issue).  But, I don’t know what else to do.  And then I feel whiny, because I know other folks out there have it so much worse.  At least, in the grand scheme of life.

So, I have loads of anxiety.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a physical anxiety attack, at least nothing beyond a small taste of that fight or flight thing with the accelerated heart rate.  But in the past two days, I haven’t felt good, my back has flared up to where I couldn’t get out of bed this morning (as in, before the MRIs and PT and everything made it better), and I’m ready to bite the head off everyone and everything, if I don’t collapse in tears first.  Is this an anxiety attack?  Does it stop, like…soon?

Can I just have a tiny little bit of down time?  Me time?  Please?

 

Vegas Come and Gone

So, all the anticipation, and its over, and I’m home and alone and cold and sad again.  And chronologically so messed.  The timeline:  Metallica Monday night (parked about 3 zip codes away), with an hour nap before.  Got home a bit after midnight.  Set the alarm to get nearly 2 hours sleep, only actually got 40 mins.  Got to airport as it opened, a little after 4.  Giggled at the new Chik-Fil-A being where all the fanboys can’t easily obtain it (past security).  Flight left at 6:05

Hit Midway early, departing gate right next to arrival gate (yay!).  Saw voicemail on my phone…oooh, someone from Dunkin’ (that’s an entirely different story).  Hopped the plane to Vegas, dozed a little (I can’t really sleep on planes).  Got there only to find no one to greet me.

Turned into a little oops.  B asked what time my flight got in, I said, um 11 I think, then I said let me check the flight number.  1235.  FLIGHT 1235, but looking back at the text I can see where he thought I was getting in at 1235.

All that hilarity aside, Halloween Street went great.  Not one, but 2 news crews showed up.  Here’s some footage from Action 13.

Yep, Bob, Steve and I can all be seen near Beymax’s right hand.  That was the live segment; the interview with the Mayor of Halloween St, and Jeff, was a bit earlier before things ramped up.

https://www.ktnv.com/news/flying-ghosts-haunted-houses-snow-cones-henderson-block-goes-all-out-for-halloween

Course, they got Lynn’s name wrong.  And they promised not to mention the name of the street.   Whoopsie.  How about Flash (Scott!) running down the street at the beginning?!

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Steve, Dee, Scott, Dominic, Bob, me, and Emily (this was her first time), in the calm before the storm.

This would be the storm.

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Fox 5 showed up as well, and we saw the blip on the news, but I’ll be damned if I can find it on their website.   Still, it was good food, good beer, margaritas, good friends, warmth (ok, well, it was 60 on Halloween, I could have stayed home and suffered crap temperatures).  I did the Bozalita thing in a makeshift costume (“you have your costume with you, right?”  “no, you guys have it”, “no you took it with you”, “no, it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase”, and yada yada).  I told the Action 13 reporter’s fortune, too, which wigged her out a little (she looked right at me after I finished and, sounding a little creeped, said, “Now, is this you?  Or is this in character?”  I said,  in my best gypsy way, “You’ll never know, will you?”)

And to close, yes, Metallica was awesome.  It’s funny how Jaymz always talks about the “Metallica family”.  Every time I’ve worn the shirt since, I get “did you go?” which turns into a friendly chitchat.  So, I close leaving you with a vision of Creeping Death.

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Done With Dunkin

I like to think I’m a savvy, but fair, consumer.  I give multiple chances, because I’ve worked in customer service and have had bad days.  Well, Dunkin had a slew of chances, and I’m done, at least with the Watervliet store.

How hard is it?  An Everything bagel toasted with butter?  Ok, I get it.  Everyone has varying butter needs.  At one point, they toasted the bagel and gave me the little butter packets, which worked out ok (except they gave me like 7 or 8, it was a bit wasteful but at least I had control).

Now, despite a million attempts to phrase it in a way they’ll understand, they insist on drowning the damn bagel in butter.  It’s bad when the bag looks like this:

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My car isn’t new, but no way do I want that on my seat.  I threw it on the floor.  I would have been mortified to hand that to someone, personally.  It’s messy to the point of disgusting.

Sometimes the bag looks fine but then I get inside and see…

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Yeah…that doesn’t bode well.  I really don’t want the bagel badly enough to touch that cold puddle of grease.  For the butter to soak through that paper…you get the idea.  Straight to the trash that one went.

But sometimes the outside is ok.  It’s when I get into the wrapping…

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So the pool of grease is on and around the bagel this time.  Remember, I keep asking for “JUST A LITTLE BUTTER”.  I don’t know how else to say it.  And the bagel is now cold and, despite having been toasted, sopping wet.  Hey, if they can’t get it right, forget it.  And I’m not about to “try” something else after they jacked their prices.  The only other thing they had that I really liked were the little wakeup wraps, and being slightly unnatural, I ordered the sausage and cheese, with no egg.  They usually got that right.  Then they upped it by 50 cents if you wanted sausage.  Dudes…I don’t want the egg, but you don’t cut me a break for that.   So, done.

The bagel thing happened many times, over many months.  I finally left a comment, griping to corporate.  Not that I expected anything, but it made me feel better, and hey, it’s making them aware, right?  So corporate actually emails me and says the store manager will be in touch.

Yes.  Yes, she was.  She sent a lovely email, all apologies and thanking me for letting them know, and telling me if I sent my address, she’d send out a gift card.

I send my address.  Her email was on Oct. 11th.  Do you think I got a gift card?  I even emailed back on the 21st “Did you send anything?”.  Today is…the 27th?  Nothing.

Great customer service there, guys.  I know to a massive corporation like them, losing me doesn’t mean squat.  But at least I tried to raise my voice.  I tried to make them aware.  And I really have nothing against Dunkin in say, Latham, or Schenectady, although on the whole, I think these days, I’ll stick with Cumby’s.  I can fix my coffee my way, it’s a LOT cheaper and doesn’t taste burned, and that chorizo/pepper cheese/egg wrap is mighty tasty (yes, yes, AFTER I remove the egg!) and costs considerably less.

As Green Day Said

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends

And there it almost goes.  Depressing, for me, a true child of summer, as the daily high drops, and the darkness comes a little earlier every day, and the threat of scraping a windshield in the morning grows.

Keep your pumpkin crap, colored leaves, and crisp air.  Give me green, vibrant, warm summer.

Still, September was good.  Vermont Comic Con went okay, much better than Green Expo, but still not profitable.  No matter; it won’t be happening again.  Sadly, Jay and Natasha announced their retirement.  They have their health and kids to tend to (it seems a pattern that running a Con is intensive, endless, and probably richly rewarding but also takes a vicious toll).   Kudos to you both: it was a great time.

Into October, and Albany Comic Con.  No New York this year, which is also sad, now that I’m walking so much better, but with Vegas and Metallica and Disney all coming up…get what rest I can, no?

More to follow, but I realized I hadn’t touched base in quite some time.  TOUCH!

An Endorsement of Wolves

Wolves and Warriors, to be exact.  A new series on Animal Planet that premiered last night, and had me bawling on and off throughout.

Ok, some of that was my own issues, but some of it was getting slammed in the feels.

I don’t follow tv that closely.  I only watch a few things, mostly on Food Network, so if my dear friend Jeremy Lucier hadn’t clued me in, I would never have found this.  He is one of the vets out there rescuing wolves.

That’s what this show is about.  Combat vets with PTSD trying to heal, and doing it in one of the most noble ways possible: rescuing wolves and wolf-dogs.  This site describes it probably better than I can:

https://lockwoodarc.org/warriors-and-wolves/

It’s a perfect pairing.  Wolves have been demonized for so long.  Veterans have all kinds of stigma associated with them, which is probably even worse, because we’re so willing to pay lip service.  “Thank you for all you’ve done”, “we appreciate you”, and so on, but the reality seldom matches the words.  They are hung out to dry.  Abandoned.

Man, I understand abandoned.  I feel it every day, but then I think of how it must feel from that viewpoint…you’re over there, risking life and limb, for our freedom.  To make the world a better, a safer, place for family and friends.  You watch people you’ve bonded with die, often helpless to do anything.  And when you think it’s done, that you’ve paid the debt and made a difference, to come home and find out the wife left you, because she couldn’t wait any longer, and she took the kids.

I’m not blaming the wife, mind you.  I’m not blaming anyone.  I’m throwing a viewpoint out there, of what it must feel like.  The premier episode covers one vet who went through this, and it’s proof that between every him vs her, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  He has anger issues, he doesn’t recognize when he’s going beyond boundaries, because all he wants is to see his kids.  On the flip side, she freaks out, she pushes him further away, because all she wants to to protect her kids.  His story is touching and a learning tool about breakdowns in communication.

I also look at it this way…if this vet were truly a bad guy, the wolves wouldn’t accept him.  We all know animals are the best judge of character, and they do accept him.  The vet needs to learn, but first he needs to heal, and a wolf pack, along with other vets in similar circumstances are ideal, because one has already been down that road and one is nonjudgmental.

Jeremy with one of the rescued.  Hell, Jeremy is also rescued, in a way.

Check this show out, and learn something.  And feel something.  Feel a lot of somethings.  The premier is two-fold; besides the new vet, there is also the story of Sadira, a grey wolf rescued from an illegal breeder.  Everything they do is to strengthen her, and if her trip to the doc doesn’t wring some tears out of you, you have no heart at all.

Remember always: whether you think we evolved, or were created, or something in between, we did not get to our level of thinking to rule the earth and its inhabitants.  We are meant to be its caretakers.  We should be protecting and helping each other, and in return, the earth, and her other residents will do the same.  We are all responsible to each other.  We must all protect, and work together.  We must teach wherever we can, with actions, not words.

They are not our pets.  They are our wards, and they are our guardians.

What I Look For In Books

New topic today.  I mean, yes, as usual, I’m having another battle with depression and stress…job situation has made it worse than ever.  But I literally can do nothing but go and suck it up, so I try to divert myself where possible.  Some of that is reading.  And occasionally, I review books.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that anyone can review anything.  Sites like Goodreads and Yelp encourage it, and it’s a good thing, IF you remember: a. most of these people are offering opinions, not necessarily “professional” reviews (granted, I’m not sure what would even constitute that, like…how do you train to review for the Times or something?), and B. they aren’t always impartial.  Yes, the sites try to keep them impartial, but we all know there are awful books out there that somehow garner thousands of 5 star reviews, and we know that one bad social gaff or bad customer interaction that gets a video on Facebook could net a restaurant a hundred 1-star reviews…from people who’ve never set foot in the place.

So I offer up what I like and dislike in books (I’ve done a few reviews here, I also have a page on Pinterest that is exclusively book reviews) with this warning: this is what I like.  You may like what I don’t.  You may not care about spelling or grammer, whereas I do.  So, it’s my opinion, and take it as you will.

“YA”.  I don’t even know what this means anymore.  I thought it was “young adult”, but it covers a huge range.  And I’ve liked some; I’m not disparaging all, but I see patterns that I distinctly don’t like.  If you’re selling point is about paranormal entities or super powers or dragons, that’s what I want.  I don’t want a high school romance with the occasional “Wow, I can read his mind?  Does he know I think he’s so hot?”  Folks, I did high school, long ago.  Reading is my escape, not my return to times better left behind.  And if I want a romance, I’ll pick up a romance.  Not to mention, everyone in these books is ridiculously gorgeous, horny (what age group was this for again??), they smirk, they sneer, they all have goofy hair/ eye color-combos (no supernatural being could just look like a person) and their lips curl in every direction.  Very rarely I find one that’s more original.  I wish I could find more.

First Person.  I have always hated first-person viewpoint.  It seems like there really wasn’t much of it until self-publishing and Kindle came along.  I hate writing it because of the constant use of “I” (feels awkward).  It’s limited in viewpoint.  Some authors switch the narrative every chapter or so, which is super annoying if they don’t make the switch clear, and slightly annoying if every character has the same “voice”.  I feel third person is far more fluid.  Again, my opinion and preference.

Bad Editing. Or no editing.  Mistakes happen, I get it.  The occasional typo, or missed letter…or the differences in reading an English author.  But there have been a few with some absolutely horrific spelling booboos.  Beyond the usual you’re, your, too, to, two, etc, I’ve seen “a ewe bow” (made out of a sheep?  really?) , murderess intent, move passed (“past” is a word and a tense, folks)…and don’t get me going on the overuse and underuse of commas.

“If you like so and so”.  If the only way you can push your book is to compare it to someone well-established, I’m not interested.  “If you like Harry Potter”…yes, I do.  That doesn’t mean I want to read some hack imitation.  Push your book on it’s own merits.  Other young wizards can exist, as long as you’ve built your own world and not shamelessly copied Rowlings’.  Right now I’ve started the Iron Druid series, and I admit, they are similar to Butcher’s Dresden books, but there are enough differences.  I do like the whole “magic practitioner living among us” deal, but you can come up with dozens of ways to present it.  Use them, and show them to me, instead of trying to ride the tails of someone you don’t even know.

That’s about it.  I don’t care for romance, certain “catchwords” (haha, hilarity ensues and all that).  Beyond that, I’ll try almost anything once, and I fluctuate.  Sometimes I tire of fantasy and I’ll read more mysteries or horror.  I enjoy historical fiction, too..again, not romance (“but will she be able to resist the sexual throbbing of handsome Lord Whimsey?”  /barrrrrfffff!).  And I will certainly review books for a free copy, although I ask about 2-3 weeks to do so.

How We Got Here

Oh, it started before the election; after all, my big question was “how did we get to having these as our choices?” (because honestly, I’m sure no fan of Clinton, either).

Well, a lot of folks blame social media.  No denying that’s one piece of the puzzle.  We’ve dehumanized each other, distanced ourselves.  We no longer have real emotions; we just have emojis.

But hand in hand with that…life imitates art.  I’ve said it before: this administration has turned into reality TV gone oh so wrong.  For the most part, I don’t watch reality stuff except for cooking and a couple paranormal investigation shows, but there’s enough similarities across the boards…we see it on TV, therefore, it must be ok to do in real life?

Kids, don’t try this at home?

Screaming at each other.  Once upon a time, I liked Gordon Ramsay.  Now I find his “method” annoying.  Maybe people on his shows signed off to be abused, but I still find it vaguely offensive.  Particularly on things like MasterChef, where these people aren’t training to be chefs or run kitchens.  They’re everyday folks.  And they make mistakes.  And apparently, that trophy and that cash prize make it ok to be abused on national television.  Oh, Ramsay isn’t the only one.  That guy from Bar Rescue…Tapper?  The guy from whatever talent show…Simon?  He may not yell, but he’s nasty.

The clincher for me was Ramsay, tho.  His 24 Hours to Hell and Back show made my blood run cold when they showed this woman being fired.  She was a bad manager, yes, but when these things were pointed out to her, she tried, and she showed a helluva lot of remorse.  Ok, the job wasn’t for her.  And I don’t care, I feel like whatever waivers she may have signed didn’t prepare her for the truth of being fired in front of millions of viewers.  Hell, put yourself in her shoes for a minute.  Being fired is horrible.  It’s humiliating, you feel like scum, whether it’s all your fault or not at all.  There’s anger, but there’s shame.  My heart bled for her, and she was callously dismissed.  What a turnoff.  That didn’t make me enamored of the show.  It disgusted me to see a person used for ratings that way.

Trash talking.  I got nothing against a competitive edge but some of it’s ridiculous.  It escalates from trash talking to back stabbing…and people love it.  I don’t.  In fact, you know what shows I prefer?  MasterChef Junior and Chopped Junior.  Kids, who you would expect to taunt and talk shit, treat each other wonderfully.  They become friends.  They’re genuinely crushed when a colleague is chopped/eliminated.  They help each other.

Likewise, the overseas versions of these shows are much more toned down.  How sad is it that they had to add “drama” and conflict and…say it…hate, to make them palatable for America?

Even the paranormal shows (and most of them are just too outlandish, I can’t bear them with Ghost Hunters gone)…Zak, who for whatever reason reminds me of a puffed up bantam rooster with his sticky-uppy hair and “ready to fight” posture, runs around trash talking…spirits.  Yes, and demons.  “You want to bully someone?  COME GET ME!  YEAH!  I’M RIGHT HERE!”

I mean, really?  Deep, deep issues, man.  And if a real demon made a run at you…not going there, Linda Blair.

And violence.  Just enough to entice.  I never watched Survivor or the more physical reality shows, but I’m sure they had some share of it.  And Gordon smashing plates and hurling sea bass, or Hell’s Kitchen participants physically getting in each other’s faces with threats…

I don’t like conflict.  I used to think most people don’t.  I mean, isn’t that primarily why people lie?  To not hurt feelings, to avoid conflict?  Yet clearly, millions of people like watching it.

And now they crave it.  “Reality” TV is what has taught us that it’s acceptable to say whatever dumbass thing pops to mind, with no regard for consequences.  We can be sexist, racist, perverse, inhuman assholes to each other because they do it on TV, right?  And it’s a free country?  You’re a Christian but does the Bible tell you to emulate that spoiled shit on TV?  Don’t think so.  Freedom of speech?  Sure, but not without resultant consequences.

And the golden rule….does anyone remember that anymore?  Get away from the reality shows, folks, unless you’re watching the Canadian MasterChef to actually learn some cooking, and watch something a little kinder, like Agents of SHIELD or Supernatural.  Those characters are more real than any of the clowns you’ll see on reality TV.