Archive for November, 2004

Underworld: Evolution

enlargeOne of the first movies that my wife convinced me to take her to when we were dating was Scary Movie. She thought it looked funny, and I wanted to please her, so I paid what few hard earned dollars I had for us to spend an evening at the movies. It turned out to be a cinematic experience so miserable that she apologized to me afterward. After seeing Underworld: Evolution, someone owes me an apology.

I want two hours of my life back.

I’m now convinced that I’m going to be on my deathbed, re-tracing my life, and I’m going to remember that I once sat through Carnosaur 2 and Underworld: Evolution. And frankly, there were enough unanswered questions from the first Carnosaur to justify me watching the second—at least compared to trying to justify Underworld: Evolution. Having seen the first Underworld, it’s not like I expected a whole lot: Kate Beckinsale, as Selene the Death Dealer, running around in a tight leather outfit shooting a lot of bullets at monsters. That, by the way, is a better plot summary than the barely-one-step-above-a-video-game thing that passed for this movie’s screenplay. Before you ask why I went to see this in the first place, I will remind you that sequels of these type of cult movies tend to be better than the original. They tend to up the action quotient, deepen the mythology, create more of a thrill ride, and possiblypossiblyeven become a director’s franchise. Not so here.

I want two hours of my life back.

Underworld: Evolution picks up after the ending credits of the first Underworld. So we are in the midst of this overly-Machiavellian, grand conspiracy/war between the lycans (werewolves) and the vampires. [This is basically a story set in the White Wolf gaming company’s Vampyre (the basis of the television series Kindred: The Embraced) and Werewolf games universe, but the uninitiated are not supposed to notice.] The movie is relentless action with no point. The frenetic direction mostly illustrates director Len Wiseman’s love of things crashing through walls. The action literally only stops long enough for gratuitous sex scenes or the one bit of exposition that supposedly explains why everyone is running around shooting and otherwise trying to maim one another. Yes, I said gratuitousbecause the randomness of it, like the rest of the movie, made no sense. Sadly, I kept waiting for the movie to start making sense, but by the time it did, I no longer cared.

Vampires represent a resurrection to darkness. In vampires you see the perversion of the idea of blood being necessary for eternal life. Underworld: Evolution continues in the Postmodern era’s tradition of distancing itself from the religious elements of vampire mythology, though sunlight is still an effective weapon against vampires and blood is still essential for the transmission of what they are as well as their reason for being immortal. The lure of vampires, from the original to Anne Rice’s depiction of them, has been their seductive underside. Vampires seem more free, civilized, almost aristocratic; frankly, they have been over-Romanticized. Werewolves, by comparison, are savage—beasts reminding us that we have a corrupted self inside us. A side, a nature, in us that we must tame, restrain, or kill.

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

—Romans 5:12

“The journey to the truth” is through the blood, Marcus says. Echoes of the story of Christ reverberate through this movie. SPOILER WARNING (I think. Who knows if I’ve even grasped the plot fully): Much of the movie revolves around the search for Alexander Corvinus (Derek Jacobi, a long way from his I, Claudius days), who is essentially the “Adam” (the first) of the vampire and werewolf clans. He is the father to twin sons, Marcus (Tony Curran), the original vampire; and William (Brian Steele), the original werewolf. Yet, despite the evil his sons immediately inflict on the world, he cannot bring himself to destroy them.

“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

—I Corinthians 15:21-22

Selene and Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman as the half-breed or hybrid rescued from the first Underworld) represent the future. The “second Adam,” much like what Christ did, takes on the traits of the f
irst
takes on his very naturebut lives the life meant to be lived. In effect, the second Adam redeems the life and sin of the first. Through facing temptation, through trials, even through a death and resurrection (including an “ascension” in to [sun] light), the lives of the second Adams provide the example for others to follow.

I’m still wondering how a movie full of vampires, werewolves, non-stop action, and a leather-clad Kate Beckinsale sucked so badly. Though I am tempted to make a list of the things I could have done instead of watching this movie, I will continue to concentrate on the themes drawn out of the movie—though even the echoes of the story of redemption are not enough to save it.

Overview

C.S.I.

“The Original is Best”

America has an odd fascination with the macabre and loves its procedurals. Actually not just America: appearing in 177 countries, CSI is one of the most watched shows in the world. Let’s face it, we have a fascination with the grisly minutiae of forensic science, a fascination even we didn’t realize we had until it was presented in such a glossy fashion. We have a morbid fascination with the aesthetics of violence and death. And we love whodunits. So much so that both Law & Order and CSI each have three brands of shows. And each brand is specific, differentiated by their The Who theme songs: “Who are you?” (CSI), “Won’t get fooled again” (Miami), “Baba O’Riley” (New York) . The city that each brand takes place in is as much a character as any cast member. The neon glitziness of Las Vegas, the bright hues and sun-kissed skies of Miami, or the stark gray of New York.

And each show rises and falls on the strength of the personalities of its leads. If you buy David Caruso’s hands on hips, lowered head, gravelly-voice a la Clint Eastwood brand of acting, you like CSI: Miami. And note, he’s opted not to leave a hit show after the first season, learning the painful lessons of quitting NYPD Blue. CSI Miami is especially humorless as Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) takes himself very seriously (the key to watching the show is to realize that every time Caine puts on his glasses or lets his black jacket flap in the wind, Caruso wants to say “I’m Batman”). The show has been marked by a few cast shake ups this season with the death of Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane) and the addition of Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo). Hopefully it will develop or at least differentiate its male leads now. The only two interesting characters on the show are the too-perky-for-words gun expert, Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter, formerly of The West Wing), and the near-creepy/speaker-to-the-dead medical examiner, Alex Woods (Khandi Alexander, News Radio and The Corner).

CSI New York has the stronger overall cast, though a lot of its characters are still blank slates. Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) possesses the gravitas that Caruso lacks. With roots in the 9/11 tragedy, his character’s wife was in the World Trade Center, he wanders through the show a haunted shell of a man. Two early stand outs are Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Harper Hill, recently of The Handler) and Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes a long way from Providence). The show is darker in tone than the other CSI’s (darker being relative when all the shows deal in death and crime scenes). Filmed in blue-gray hues, it has a gritty ambience reminiscent of film noir.

However, if you like the dedicated nerds with personality and style, then there’s nothing like the magic of the original CSI. This show features the best drawn characters of the brands and does the best job of humanizing this workaholic dysfunctional family. Gil Grissom (William Peterson) is the grumpy, all-knowing father; an entomologist (entomologist!) incapable of forming human attachments since he’s all about science. Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) is a former gambler and Nick Stokes (George Eads) is like his competitive, hot-headed brother. Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) is the mom of the bunch, the former stripper and struggling single mom. And lastly there’s Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) young hotshot with the budding alcohol problem.

Each character comes with their share of baggage, emotional and familial. Sometimes it has trouble juggling what the viewers like (the procedural stuff) versus what the characters need (to grow and be explored). For example, the show veered dangerously close to over-the-top (a fine line that it often straddles) when it probed Catherine’s struggles with her wayward daughter.

“You may not believe in God, sir, but you certainly do His work.” -a murderer to Gil Grissom

This “nerd squad”is made up more of lab techs than cops, but they are equally missional. They seek truth. They speak for the dead, the victims. The show works because we enjoy the comfort of the familiar: the police forensic procedural and the mystery provided by the, often novel, deaths. Our love for it is partly fueled by our need for justice, but there are two things about the show that also drive us: death and modernity.

First there is the stark reminder of the reality of death. Death comes in all forms on the show, accidents, flukes of fate, the frailty of age or disease, and murder. By looking at death, we develop an understanding of life, especially how precious and fragile it is. Staring at the cold bodies in the morgue, we are reminded that for some it is too late. Their choices in this life have determined what they are to do in the next. If nothing else, this life is intended to teach us about preparing to meet God in the afterlife. Death is the door from one life, one reality, to the fuller life, the greater reality. We can’t keep putting off the work of becoming the people we are meant to be. At the same time, those broken bodies remind us that we are more similar than we care to admit and are in no position to judge others.

Secondly, and this may seem somewhat esoteric, but the show is the fruition of our modern age: it fits our paradigm and our cultural systemic belief system. the shows are a triumph of modern thought. The mantra of the all of the shows is “have faith in the evidence”. Vicariously, we need to know: we want to understand death. We need to know how and we need to know why, leaving no room for mystery. Our prophet in this endeavor, Gil Grissom, lacks one critical element. Sometimes he is so analytical, he misses the point of human existence, relationships. We are slaves to the technical jargon of death and in so becoming, we are losing the poetry of life.

“The shortest distance between two points is science.” Warrick.

The science geeks on the show are routinely awed by creation: the science, the body, even insects. And they have the modern age’s typical need to catalog it all and put it in categories or neat frameworks. This is all part and parcel of our modern age, modern faith, and our modern way of doing things.

“The key to being a lucid crime scene investigator was to reserve judgment until the evidence vindicates or eliminates assumption.” -original CSI investigator, Holly Griggs.

This mindset has infected the way that we practice spirituality. The Western mindset with its values of science, democr
acy, and emphasis on individualism–none of which are bad things in and of them selves–have the cumulative effect of reducing God and faith into easily understood preconceptions. God is a puzzle to be worked out. The Bible, or any religious book, is something that needs to be put into a framework of doctrines. We pigeonhole faith and drive out the mystery.

Concentrate on what cannot lie: the evidence. Go where the evidence takes you. These are typical of Grissom’s Zen-like pronouncements. Integral to crime scene investigator’s methodology is that you don’t want to force your pre-made ideas on the evidence, not forcing it to fit your theory. At the end of the day, you have a nice, tidy package, even if it isn’t always the truth you want. Life isn’t a matter of faith vs. scientific investigation because faith isn’t an anti-intellectual endeavor. The most unsettling cases are the times that their faith (in their evidence and method) is tested because something happens, some evil, that doesn’t fit into their orderly beliefs.

“No more speculation … facts from here on out.” -a CSI: New York coroner

CSI ultimately is about the quest for truth. The desire to search for truth is fueled by faith. Their faith is in the evidence. Too often we have a systematized faith, a modern way of looking at life. We like order. We like to make sense of the universe. This is fine, but we forget that we often learn more from the search for answers, without necessarily finding them, than we do by having answers given to us. Partly this is because we have made an idol of answers and partly this is because, frankly, being in a place without answers is a scary place to be and live.

We’ve gone from being faithful to being detectives, trying to prove something (God) by looking for evidence or simply putting our energies into proving that we’re right. Our modern faith ends up treating our “holy books” as history texts, encyclopedias, legal codes or philosophical/anthropological articles, missing the whole purpose of those books are about. We become married to terms like inerrancy and infallibility, even if those texts don’t use those words to describe themselves. We look for factual accuracy, corroborating evidence, try to maintain a stance of dispassionate objectivity, when the reality is 1) no one is ever truly objective and 2) truth is more than that.

In short, CSI is a graphically visceral show, with its close up of wound tracks, and has its share of macabre thrills, titillating adult themes, and crime recreations. They bring out the pulp “true crime” buffs in all of us.

 

NYPD Blue

NYPD Blue wrapped up it’s final season. Even if you were unaware of that fact, the entire season has the feeling of closure about it. Being a long time fan of the show, I’m glad to see it get a good-bye season. This is much like the pro athlete who announces his impending retirement so that the year plays out like a farewell tour.

The show, as it has for it duration, focused on the ever grumpy Det. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz), a man finding himself dissatisfied and frustrated with his calling as a detective. The show was in need of a shake up. It had gotten complacent with its easy rhythm and had fallen into a bit of a rut. Everyone got along with each other. The hustle and bustle of the squad room became six detectives and a boss solving cases in self-contained one hour arcs, not exploring the issues of their characters which had made it stand out from other police procedurals. In short, it had become staid. The first few episodes of this season, however, could best be described as “uncomfortable.”

There is a cloud of palpable tenseness among the detectives squad. A new boss, Lt. Thomas Bale (Currie Graham) is transferred from Internal Affairs (the “rat squad”) who not only is learning his new position on the job but also seems to have the agenda of easing Andy into early retirement. There are problems between partners. Andy and John Clark Jr. (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) continue to butt heads. John Jr. is in a destructive downward spiral of drunkenness and sexual carousing and no one knows how to help (and he isn’t asking for any). Det. Rita Ortiz and her new partner, Det. Laura Murphy (Bonnie Somerville), as Laura uses her sexiness to get by on the job to Rita’s chagrin.

Spiritual reality has always been one of the underpinnings of the show. God is at the root of Andy Sipowicz’s character. When he lost his faith in Him, his life completely unraveled into a drunken spiral into prostitution and self-loathing. In that, the show has come full circle with John Jr.’s channeling the spirit of Andy past. John Jr. is flailing about after the suicide of his father followed shortly by the suicide of his girlfriend, not knowing how to put his back together. [I’m just not quite buying Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s performance. He plays his character just this side of over the top, like he’s wearing a character he’s not quite comfortable with.] He could learn a lot from his partner.

Andy has long engaged in modeling the Book of Job, wherein Job is beset by a series of disasters in his life in turns losing his finances, his family, and his health. For Andy, his Job-ian affair involved wrestlingd with his demons of racism, homophobia, and alcoholism; and also suffering much loss (his son, Andy Jr.; his wife, Sylvia; and his partner, Bobby Simone).

In recent episodes, Andy has returned to the tortured character that was the hallmark of the series. He teetered on the edge of diving back into the bottle after a foe from the past successfully made his life hell on all fronts. Andy stared down his mortality after a recent shooting, tortured by thoughts of who he would be leaving behind. Having no room for “saint and prophet types”, he doesn’t know where to turn, how to connect with God. So he is sent some help in the form of his deceased partner, Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits, pulling double duty on The West Wing).

Somewhat surreal turns in the show aren’t unprecedented. Two major turning points for Andy’s character came via dream episodes: One where he is reunited with his son via Christ and another where he learns the root of his racism. So a conversation with his deceased partner isn’t as surreal a turn as one might expect. And the first arc of the season seems to be pointing to this climax.

Who wouldn’t want a chance to converse with someone from beyond the grave? Especially a partner that you’ve loved and missed greatly who has been in heaven. Andy acts shocked to hear that there is a God; it’s one thing to believe quite another to know. He doesn’t surround himself with a community of believers and he is not a Bible reader. But he does have his reason and his spiritual experience. Bobby reminds him that when he’s needed Him the most, God’s been there. Like now.

The spirit of Bobby Simone comes to impart some life-changing, perspective-shifting wisdom. First he reminds Andy that life isn’t short: “Life is long … Long in possibilities. Long in those you affect. Long in what lives on after you’re gone.” Fears of ones mortality is a good thing as it leads to consideration of who you leave behind and what kind of legacy, but also it inevitably leads to wondering about the life to come after this one.

Secondly, Bobby suggests that maybe Andy should re-think his calling, pursuing instead a new role as a teacher. For example, serving also as a father figure to his current partner, he should “Spot him the mistakes, Andy, and teach him to ride out the losses … Do you think the big guy [God] let up on you because of your looks? You’re suppose to serve a purpose when you’re down here.” The show has always hinged on the demons of Andy Sipowicz. The vein of racism has seemingly been picked clean and left behind him. Ditto with his homophobia. Even his alcoholism was only touched on as a constant demon that he has under control. Leaving only his spiritual journey. A part of that journey has been recognizing his true purpose. As Bobby says, “We come when we are called.”

While the show is still very good, with this season in particular highlighting the recent seasons, it hasn’t been great since it’s co-creator, the manic voice of David Milch (now running the show Deadwood), left. He seemed to best voice the tortured psyche of Andy Sipowicz and set the show apart, and above, other cop shows. But the show has aged, not always gracefully, but is still a cut above most of the shows on the air. Like Andy, it can look proudly at its own legacy and role as a teacher in how police shows can be done.

Then again, for my other thoughts on the show, pick up the book What Would Sipowicz Do: Race, Rights, and Redemption in NYPD Blue. I wrote a few of those chapters.

Ghost World

Ghost World follows the story of two world weary teens, Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) during that scary, post-high school graduation time of life as they try to make their way (read: find themselves) in the real world. Though there are teenagers in this movie, do not confuse this fact with Ghost World being a teen movie.

Almost a live action follow up to MTV’s Daria (for that matter, it is a live action version of the comic book Ghost World), these are the too smart by half, best friend, outsider girls who learned to face the (high school) world while having each others back. They exude a “better than you” realness among the odd collection of characters that make up their small town. Displaying a certain post-modern crankiness (“Everyone is too stupid.”), they go about figuring out how to get a long in life, in very different ways.

This movie is about realness. Cool becomes defined by one’s realness, so much of the movie is a search of how to express one’s self. Enid and Rebecca make sport of others, following and embarrassing interesting people. That is how she comes to meet Seymour (the ever cool, even when playing an adult nerd/misanthrope, Steve Buscemi), collector of of vintage blues, jazz, and ragtime 78s, making fun of him until she comes to see a lot of herself in him. Rebecca, with ideas of moving out on her own and heading to college, starts growing up, straining the friendship. Enid, an artist at heart though she hasn’t quite realized it, adopts looks and styles in search of her real self. Playing the outsider, her look and attitude are designed to alienate before anyone gets the opportunity to reject her. Enid’s art teacher tries to help her students “find the key to your particular lives”.

This movie also cries out with the realization that people are relational beings. Seymour “can’t connect with other people so [he] fills [his] life with stuff.” But he does have a morose, black humor that is his defense mechanism. For that matter, most of the characters have difficulty relating to the rest of humanity. Enid, after a particularly frustrating bout, declares that “only stupid people have good relationships.” The problem isn’t Enid, of course, it’s that the rest of the world can’t understand her. But it’s that very real sense of comfortable aloneness that Enid responds to in Seymour (though they are too alike to stay together) and we respond to in Enid.

Okay, so everyone in this movie needs a hug.

In this age of homogenized strip malls and coffee franchises, the “Ghost World” that the title refers to is the loss of any sense of character or true originals. Original, somewhat meandering, and smart, this movie is both funny and sad at the same time, almost uncomfortable to watch. But definitely worth watching.

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A Few Thoughts on Affirmative Action

I get in this argument/debate fairly often. You know, one of those “you’re the only black person I know so I’ll run this past you seeking your approval” sort of things. Few topics spark such immediate animosity, are so divisive, like affirmative action. In fact, in my experience, only abortion and religion are on the same level. My opinions on the topic are like most things in my life: a paradox. There is a tension that I tend to live with since I both despise and like affirmative action.

For the sake of discussion, I am going to define affirmative action the way it is demonized. It has come to be equated with quotas and a lowering of standards, rather than creating opportunities or looking for the best qualified candidates, so that is what I will deal with. Despite the fears that I hear, from white folks, affirmative action will never be practiced in this country to the detriment of white folks. Anecdotal evidence aside [for every “I know a white person who lost their job/promotion to a less qualified minority” I got 10 black person screwed over stories. Plus, that’s not a game I want to play.], it won’t. It doesn’t have the teeth. If they are so confident in the racial equality laws on the books, if they feel that they have been discriminated against due to race, use the existing laws to combat it. That simple. It’s like me feeling threatened every time I hear a guy passed over by a woman story. While it may happen on occasion, the fact of the matter is that this is still a man’s world. And until women are afforded equal luxuries, I’m not bent out of shape by the occasional “woman getting over” story.

To paraphrase the great philosopher Chris Rock: I don’t want anything based on me being inferior or less capable; but if it’s a tie, screw ‘em, give me the edge. And I have no problem with that. Reparations was only a viable option right after slavery happened. Forty acres and a mule, as well as the civil liberties given, were rescinded before they had a chance to really go into effect and black people were able to get an equal footing in society.

You see, I’ll play by whatever rules a system gives me. And succeed. That’s me. If someone wants to hand me a scholarship or opportunity based on race, fine. I’ve got a family to support. I’m not stupid. You can talk to be til you are blue in the face about pride blah, blah, blah. I’m practical and if those are the rules fine. If those are taken away, fine, just don’t get in my way based on race.

All the people who get burned up about affirmative action, and who complain about getting labeled as racist, need to realize a few things:

1. America screwed up. People need to face the central conceit of their hypocrisy: this country was founded on freedom, and built on the backs of slaves. And for anyone who has that hair trigger reflexive response of “get over it”, they need to look around. For one thing, we’re only a few generations removed from the holocaust known as slavery. We’re talking about a way of life that started in the 1500s and ended in the 1800s with rights established in the 1950s. I can only trace my family tree back to a great grandfather before I have to check bills of sale. For another thing, as I look around the globe, people just don’t get over things. England Protestants/Irish Catholics. Israel/Arab Nations. African tribal conflicts. The various Asian emnities. Some of these conflicts go back centuries.

2. Reparations aren’t coming, nor would I want them to come. They aren’t fiscally possible nor realistic, so that’s a pipe dream. Plus, how do you put a financial figure on systematic unpaid labor, rape, murder, and cultural destruction? There’s no price tag imaginable for that.

3. (Memo to the Republican Party:) People are going to seem racist if they rail against affirmative action, but have no better idea to replace it with. (And don’t get me wrong, as is, the system is not working as intended).

I guess that sums up my position on things. The bottom line is that racism is entrenched in people’s hearts, and no amount of laws passed can do anything about that. The social ills and injustices caused by institutional racism has broad and far-reaching effects. Education. Poverty. Crime. Drugs. We are past the point of “easy” solutions. But we all have to live with each other. And things won’t improve until we learn to talk to each other, frankly, without flying off the handle.

Crazy @$$ Squirrels

On Wednesday nights, I lead a book study with a group of longtime friends (okay, since it’s so easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of our own schedules, the book study is our excuse to schedule time with each other). We’re doing Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian. Since we were four couples getting together, we used to do marriage books (Sacred Marriage, The Mystery of Marriage, etc.) but those got kind of old. Plus now we could invite our single friends who we don’t get to see very often.

Of course, we may have to re-think our singles policy.

We rotate the houses that we meet in, and our single friend has a wonderful new home. However, we won’t be meeting back there until she has proof that her crazy ass squirrel has moved away. Our friend graciously walked my family to the door, but had she waited at her door one more minute, she would’ve seen one squirrel terrorizing a family of four like a scene out of Cujo. That stupid thing–and mind you, I love squirrels–charged Sally, who was carrying our youngest, Malcolm, and chased them into the car. Sally reminded me that she had a thing about little feet (as an aside, and as lovingly and without sarcasm as I can muster, one of the many joys of marriage is learning the little idiosyncrasies that make up another person. Which then remind us why God intended monogamy and not polygamy: because it’s hard enough putting up with one person’s weird quirks. Little feet creep my wife out.).

So I, in the loving way that I regularly go about mocking my wife, go up to the squirrel who I thought had taken refuge up the tree. No, that thing was hiding behind one of the tree roots and charged through a pile of leaves at me. I walked to my side of the car (because to say I ran would be to admit that that rabid little devil beast scared me) thinking that it would stop at the sidewalk. It ran to my side of the car, nipping at my heels, and I barely got the door closed without it jumping in the car.

Even now, I am reminded about the movie Cape Fear and have visions of it having hitched a ride home underneath my car.

I Don’t Like Live Journals

I don’t like LiveJournals.

I don’t like Blogs.

Especially for writers.

I think that they destroy the writer’s mystique. You don’t need to know what I had for breakfast, how I coordinate my underwear drawer, or what me and my wife fight about (which, as far as any of you are concerned is nothing. We rarely fight. She’s bigger than I am. And crazy. But you don’t need to know that either).

Do you know what I want to know about Stephen King or Neil Gaiman? When are they putting out their next story. Maybe the occasional anecdote about the writing life. Maybe, just maybe, an amusing tale from their life. But mostly, I want to know about their work. If they like to prance around in women’s panties, I don’t care (and frankly, don’t want to visualize).

We have this love of celebrity that has gotten out of hand. There are entire shows, entire networks, devoted to the minutia of the comings and goings of celebrities. It’s now to the point where we not only feel like we know these people, but they are obligated to share themselves with us. I’ve never met Jennifer Lopez, I’ve never spoken with Jennifer Lopez, I’m not from her block from back in the day, yet I feel that she’s a high maintenance diva in desperate need of an image overhaul. Why? Because that’s the story that’s been shoved down my throat despite my general disinterest in all things J-Lo or Bennifer.

So you won’t be reading about my struggles with premature ejaculation or anorexia or any of the numerous way-too-personal things that I see on other blogs. Plus, I don’t want you weirdos coming up to me at conventions like you know me, commiserating with me over something personal shared in a blog. I’ve seen it happen to other writers. And even though they handle it gracefully, it still strikes me as creepy. Kinda like loading up your future stalkers with way too much ammo.

In short, I want the mystery. I want the mystique. And whether or not you realize it, you want it, too.