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Thursday, April 9, 2015

MY CATHOLIC SOAPBOX ...

I kind of hesitated about posting this particular post, but in light of Indiana passing that ridiculous anti-gay law I am posting it.  It goes to the theme of people being hateful, unintelligent and plain stupid and pushing their beliefs onto others and not respecting anyone who believes differently than they do. 

I’ve written about this topic before … about people posting their religious and political views on Facebook.  I don’t do it as often as I used to because it incites war, but sometimes I can’t help myself and I’ll post Catholic stuff to piss off the Born Again Christians (because they hate us you know) and I’ll post super-duper left wing stuff to piss off the super duper right wing wing-nuts.

So I have a friend on Facebook who is like me; into all types of spiritual thought.  I am not a scholar or an expert by any means, but I can back up what I believe for those who care to listen.  I AM A SEEKER and I have no issue with your beliefs until you start messing with mine.  Then I get pissed off. 

So – a friend of a friend on Facebook has engaged in a war with me over Christian thought, doctrine, principles, rules, regulations, scripture, etc., et al., blah blah blah for which he has NO KNOWLEDGE.

This war of words stems from the fact that our mutual friend is in London visiting his son and this individual, let’s call him Jesus, Jr., no matter what comment you post on Facebook, will ALWAYS have a negative comment about gays and how everyone is lost and evil because they're not Christian.  Well, he has decided to enlighten me and everyone else on Facebook about England’s religious history.  Here is a sampling of our convos …

Jesus Junior:  you are now in a non christian country this is the country the christians left because of religious freedom and why the christians abandoned anarchy. and put right to bear arms yes churchill met with pres rosevelt on a distroyer begging the christian army to help them against the nazi s

Me:  Please.  This is the country that left the Catholic church in 1534 to form the Church of England when King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boelyn.  England is NOT a non-Christian country.  Do your homework please. 

To this he responds by giving me a test.

Jesus Junior:  does England have the right to bear arms?  and a king and queen?  yes or no  ... (I’m surprised he didn’t print a little box for me to check)

Me:  England has a Queen. But she is merely a figurehead.  Parliament runs the government.  Citizens in England do not carry weapons, nor do the police.  what does that have to do with anything?  Your arguments are completely bogus.  Do your homework so you can debate with some intelligence.  And FYI, there was no "Christian army" there was just the army.

Jesus Junior:  wait this is piere morgan right?  I thought we ran you out of the country.

(Clearly an insult to deflect from the fact that I answered his ridiculous question). 

Me:  Do you mean Piers Morgan?  Learn how to spell.  FYI - I answered your questions dude.

Jesus Junior:  Then stay out of our Christian nation.  (Typical response of someone who does not know what he is talking about).

Me:  You seriously need help.  You're paranoid.  And I AM A CHRISTIAN.  And P.S. America is the home of the FREE ... to be a Christian or an aethiest, or a Buddhist or a Muslim.  Deal with it.

OK.  You're all probably wondering why I even wasted my time with this individual, especially considering that he cannot spell or express himself.  I just got tired of reading his ridiculous comments day in and day out and I couldn't help myself. 

The other reason was an example ... take this little exchange and magnify it by a billion and you have the chaos you see in the world.  Most people argue not with the intention of learning and understanding another person’s point of view, but with their next argument in their head.  I have found that when I really try to understand where someone is coming from two things happen:  (a) I get it; and (b) I learn something.  Instead of arguing with the sole intent of being “right” why not argue with the intent to “understand” and “learn”?  It doesn’t mean you have to change your thought or convert your religion, just TRY to understand where someone is coming from. 

I can appreciate that to go outside of what is comfortable naturally instills a certain amount of fear in people.  It is scary to question long held beliefs and to step outside of boundaries that we’ve been told we should never step outside of because to do so is akin to consorting with Satan.  But questioning is good.  Even when it makes us uncomfortable … we should actually sit with that feeling and ask ourselves WHY we are feeling uncomfortable.  For only by questioning can we really grow as human beings and as spiritual beings. 

And the other reason is ... I can't stand people who attack MY faith.  I am a Catholic and I can't tell you how many times I've had fundamentalists attack me. They ridicule our practice of saying a rosary (which is merely a meditation on the life of Christ from his conception to his resurrection), they believe we pray to the Virgin Mary, we call the priest “Father” blah blah blah.  Here is my argument to that ... WHAT DO YOU CARE?!  What is it to you that I’m Catholic?  I have never attacked anyone for their religious beliefs nor gotten into a pissing contest about who's right or who's wrong.  I have attended mass my whole life and in all these many years
I have never ever heard a Catholic priest say anything negative about fundamentalists.  Fundamentalists on the other hand, are very vocal about their negative feelings about Catholics and their false church.  Faith is faith and belief is belief and it's no one business and no one's right to attack or condemn or condescend to anyone who does not believe as you do.  Instead of worrying about all us “heretical Catholics” you should worry about yourselves and try to be more LIKE JESUS.  L-O-V-I-N-G.  NEWSFLASH!  Christ already died for my sins ... I don’t need YOU to save me.  So please … stay in your lane and I’ll stay in mine.  DAMMIT.

.... and I say this only with love. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

VIGGO ...

 
 
So Mama had the BEST Saturday night of her life EVER!  Last month I got tickets to Viggo’s screening of “Jauja” at the NuArt in Santa Monica and guess who was there as a special guest?  VIGGO MORTENSEN. 
 
This is how my day began.  I awoke to the thrill that later that evening I would be in the same room with my boyfriend in my head.  After morning coffee and basically laying around on my ass all day I finally jumped in the shower about 2 pm.  My friend Maria was going with me and was supposed to be at my house around 5 pm and I was going to drive us to the theatre.  We used Maria’s GPS which worked beautifully until … after driving for an hour and 15 minutes Siri informed us that we had arrived at our destination … which was in front of an apartment complex.  I then put the address into MY phone’s GPS and off to Wonderland we went.  I had to make a U-turn, go back down Santa Monica, make a right at the next light, go a mile to the next light, make another right, drive for about three miles, then make a left and lo and behold there was the NuArt. 
 
NOW we had to look for parking.  For those of you who do not live in L.A. this is why most people leave their houses at least two days in advance because it will take at least another two hours to find parking that isn’t seventeen miles away from your destination.  We circled the block twice.  There was parking with meters but not on Saturday from 8 to 8 which means NO PARKING.  FUCK.  We decided to park in a teeny tiny strip mall directly across the street.  I looked diligently for any sign that didn't allow parking and did not see anything sooooo … I parked (with a prayer that my car would still be there after the movie).  We went to 7-11, got our M&M’s and crossed the street.  There was already a line forming but we were an hour early so we were guaranteed good seats. 
 

Since we had some time I opened up my first pack of M&M's (because I'm a pig and one pack is not enough) and started making conversation with the two gals standing in line behind us.  Sanela and Karen.  Viggo Fans like me and that was all I needed to know.  We have an understanding we Viggo lovers.  So to me, they were my new besties.    
 
Here’s the thing.  I didn't want to sit too close because then I wouldn't enjoy the movie, but I didn't want to sit too far back because then I wouldn't be able to see Viggo.  Decisions Decisions.  We sat about 9 rows from the screen, dead center.  Perfect.
 
So Maria and I are sitting there eating our M&M’s and popcorn, chatting away when the host comes out and thanks everyone for coming and then says we has a VERY special guest ... he proceeds to introduce Viggo and he comes bounding down the aisle!  I wasn't prepared!  I didn’t expect to see him until AFTER the movie!  OMG!  He’s gone a little more silver the temples but he is still gorgeous as ever.  The last time I saw him was in 2009 for a Q&A at a screening of “The Road” (the most depressing movie ever made) – that was six years ago and he didn't come out until after the movie and then he didn't stick around so there was no opportunity to meet him or get a picture.  I could already tell that THIS night was going to be special. 
 
So there he is in the flesh, gorgeous, engaging, funny and adorable.  He spoke about the film and his passion for promoting it, and stating that it might not be veryone's cup of tea.  He thanked everyone for showing up and said he'd be back after the screening to take questions.



Movie starts.  Movie ends.  What can I say?  He was FABULOUS in the role.  Viggo has the ability to convey everything in his face, his eyes ... such a reactive actor.  And yes, it is not your run of the mill film ... there was lots of metaphor and allegory and expansive scenes of landscape, very little dialogue, and when it was over I was basically asking myself ... WTF?  It was one of those films that takes you on a journey, then makes a sharp left turn leaving you to ask yourself ... what the hell did it mean??? 



After the screening he came out, sat on a high chair and the host began interviewing him.  They opened it up for questions from the audience and he spent about 45 minutes answering questions.  And BTW ... he was sitting dead center, right in my line of sight with no heads in the way.  Perfect! 



Then it was over.  The host thanked everyone for coming and at that point lots of people started leaving but I noticed Viggo was still standing up front and people were now trying to make their way down to him.  THIS WAS IT!  MY CHANCE TO GET CLOSE TO HIM ... MAYBE GET A PICTURE WITH HIM!  It was cool because even though there were a lot of people around him there weren't like 40 or 50 people ... more like 12 to 15.  Maria and I made our way to him and she had her phone ready to take pictures.  Good thing because there was no way I would be able to handle my phone, take pictures, melt, talk to him and take it all in at the same time.



I made my way, little by little, until I was standing RIGHT NEXT to him on his left side.  All I could do was look at him.  His hair ..., his jacket, .... his hands, .... his cheek ... clean shaven and just begging to be stroked by me.  THEN I said "can I have a picture?"



He said "I'm not going to do that right now because they have to show the next screening but I'll sign something for you."  (Can I just say ... his voice ... *sigh* ... that voice I've heard in movie after movie speaking to me!  DOUBLE SIGH) .



OK.  I'm going to be REAL HONEST.  I was devastated that he wouldn't take a picture with me.  Devastated.  And he didn't make eye contact with me either so this entire conversation was taking place as he was signing autographs and handing them back to people.  HEART.  BREAK. 



But I got it.  I was standing right next to him so I was able to see the faces of all the other fans trying to lock eyes with him ... make contact ... engage ... and I thought to myself this has got to be really weird for him.  And then I realized ... I WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE ... (eyes rolling with embarrassment).



So after he tells me he'll sign something I said "I only have this" (a crumpled up napkin) and he says "No, no.  Let's get you something" and he grabs a program for me and asks my name.  I told him and he said "how do you spell that?"  I told him and he wrote "Thanks Debbie ---  heart Viggo.  (See autograph below) this will be framed and kept in a place of honor in my home and upon my death will then be placed into my coffin with me for eternity.



 
After that Maria and I made our way to the front lobby so we could check out all the pictures she took.  I was so excited and disappointed at the same time.  Okay readers, honest ... I have to admit that I half expected him to recognize me from the ether.  I DID.  He's been in my head for so many years that I felt for sure that we really do have a connection.  THAT was when I realized ... Debbie, Viggo does not know you.  You are just another anonymous fan.  And I felt really kinda stupid. 
 



Look at me ... I'm literally swooning.



Close enough to KISS!







For years I've seen photos of him signing autographs and speaking at these Q&A's and I KNEW ... I somehow KNEW that I would be in a picture like the one above.  Kismet.  Destiny.  Call it what you like ... it was a night like no other.  Meant to be and I will never EVER forget it.



And really, IF he had made eye contact with me I would have either (a) melted; (b) fainted; or (c) straddled him.  MAYBE NEXT TIME.


Next to my wedding day, this evening ranks right up there in the top 10 of my life's experiences.  (insert happy face here).


SMOOCHES!