On those of us who try to be funny

In the wake of a recent suicide, there are discussions and articles going around that anyone who tries to be funny is so desperate, sad, and lonely that they are at all times one small step away from taking the Big End To It All option.
People also frequently note that I am often trying to be funny.
So let me start by assuring everyone out there that I am not on the edge, I am nowhere near that edge, I don’t foresee myself ever being at that edge absent real physical suffering or impending complete collapse of intellect.
This is not to say that I am without depressions – really, more frustrations, I’m a very frustrated man in some ways, having squandered both abilities and opportunities (all of which is on me). I feel I have achieved most of what I’m likely to, and there are some genuine achievements in there, but the pile could have been bigger. As a writer, I am both more successful than most people who see themselves as writers and less successful than most of the people folks are apt to think of when they think about writers. And I’ve managed to get myself in a position in life where I’m spending a lot of time doing things that I’m not that good at.
And I don’t always put these things forward because I’d rather be judged on my strengths and successes than on failures and weaknesses. And I make my jokes because they are a success; I am good at finding some combination of things about a given situation that meet in a surprising way. And it feels good not just to amuse other folks (although that is certainly a measure of success) but to simply put it together; it has some of the same satisfaction as solving a math puzzle does for me.
And I am proud of things that I have done, including things that you don’t know about. And while I might not have that many successes to look forward to, there are other forms of pleasure that still await. I have my up side as well.
So if you had any concern regarding me, I appreciate your caring, and can always use support… but I’m not suicidal, merely human, and we all to some degree clothe our wrinkled natural selves.

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  


It will be interesting to see where we are at the end of the year.

Published in: on May 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  


Indeed, Michigan.

At this point, 54% of Americans live in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is either available or are awaiting the end of a stay of court ruling to be legal.


Published in: on March 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm  Leave a Comment  


Back before Dr. Mrs. Nat’s TV was a Dr. or a Mrs., back when we had just gotten engaged, well, I felt a bit of trepidation about that… not just because of the usual marriage jitters, but because marriage was being used as a legal tool to keep my gay friends (and even gay folks I didn’t like so much) in a second-class situation. So I got engaged, but the future-Dr. Mrs. and I agreed that if any state legalized same-sex marriage before it was time to book our honeymoon, we would honeymoon in that state.

Which was easy to say, since the state that was actively moving in that direction at the time was Hawaii. When they punted, and it looked like we might have to marry in Vermont. To our vast dismay (and a small amount of relief), Vermont punted as well. Since no state was going to have same-sex marriage before our wedding, we were free to honeymoon where we wished. And yes, we wished Hawaii.

Starting today, plenty of same-sex couples are getting married in Hawaii. May they have wonderful lives together, and wonderful honeymoons. May I suggest Vermont?

Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

On being male at cons

Since the way male comic pros treat women at cons is the topic that’s going around (thanks in large part to the brave postings of my pal and collaborator, Tess Fowler´╗┐), and since I’m seeing a few very odd reactions to it, I feel like I need to balance some of those odd reactions. No one is asking you to stop being human. No one is asking you to never think of sex. No one is saying that if you ever misread a signal, you’re horrible. Few if any are even saying that if a woman shows up and expresses the desire for the sheer unlimited awesomeness of having intimate physical relations with A Real Comics Creator, you cannot find some legitimate mutual benefit in that (but no; I’ve been going to cons for decades, and if you think that is happening to you, at least take a second to figure out if there’s some way you may be misinterpreting it.)
But if you’re trying to bring up sexual possibilities quickly in an environment that is not set up for that, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you’re trying to subtly suggest that there might be benefit to an assignation beyond mutual pleasure and perhaps some genuine possibility of something longer term, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you think that sexual access is something you’ve earned via your awesomeness, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you’re reading sexual signals into things repeatedly at a con, you’re being an idjit. You may be confusing women at a con being in personal presentation business mode (smiling, attentive, and nicely dressed) with a different set of social signals. Notice that you’re not actually getting anywhere, and learn.
Folks: Don’t be surprised when folks you consider talented, or even folks you consider feminist, also show some shmuck tendencies. Being a good artist or knowing how to turn a phrase does not turn off heterosexual drives. Thinking that women can do things just as well as men and should be free to succeed does not turn off the desire to be doing nekkid things with them.
The women who are at a con are not there for your pleasure. Even the women who have spent thousands of dollars trying to emulate an Adam Hughes cover shot are there for their pleasure, not yours, and if your pleasure is gained by detracting from their comfort… or even if you’re willing to detract from their comfort for a long-shot at pleasure… then please find somewhere else to go. Cons get so much better when the women creators get treated as part of the creator class, and for that matter when the women who feel like squeezing their lithe or ample selves into Catwoman or Black Cat outfits aren’t made to feel like they’ve put a target on ourselves.
Almost all of us will have moments in our lives when our drives make us a little stupid, a little awkward, push a little too close to the line. I’ve made mistakes (no, I’m not listing them); please try to recognize them in yourself, and pull back.
And if you see the opportunity to discourage such behavior in other guys, whether it’s taking a moment to give a guy a clue or being ready to physically block something that is getting out of hand, please do.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Todd & The Book of Pure Evil

There is something odd about Canadian sitcoms, in that they can feel quite legitimate, like something made for a minor network in the US, but you don’t hear about them until suddenly, bam, there’s whole seasons of them. That was really the impact of Corner Gas, a show well worth watching. At the moment, I’m Netflixing through the couple dozen episodes of Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil, which is basically early-Buffy-as-a-sitcom. Not a dare-not-miss-this series, but if that sounds like a good idea to you, it’s watchable.

Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yay, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Anyone notice their marriage shattering apart last week? Me neither

Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The world of tomorrow doesn’t look that much different

Today, same-sex marriage becomes legally available in New Zealand. Well, not today today; it’s already tomorrow in New Zealand, and tomorrow is the today I mean. And while there certainly is some grousing there, and church groups trying to figure out what they’re going to do, well, as I said, it’s already tomorrow there, so we know that the world doesn’t end today.

Earlier this month, two more US states started licensing same-sex marriages. Minnesota! Rhode Island! Did I forget to celebrate them on my blog? Prob’ly. Most people actually living in those states probably didn’t even blink about it on the day it happened. The oceans did not rise up and take them. Heterosexuality did not lose its appeal.

The U.S. military now recognizes that not only does it have gay men and women in their ranks, but that some of them have spouses, who need support just as any military spouse does. Our forces are no less at the ready for it.
The shrill voices that were warning what would happen if this sort of thing were to elbow its way into our lives, our churches, our classrooms… well, some of them are still the same shrill voices, now inaccurately predicting yesterday, but they are playing to ever more empty halls.
In the time of the way things have changed, historically, this is lightning. Those who got on this train got on a bullet train. And I cannot help to wonder: what change can we make next like this?

Published in: on August 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Acting my age

Tried out for a play… not because I expect to get a role, mainly because I like auditions. The show is Noises Off, a fine show (and the movie adaptation of it is quite good), but one without a lot of cast options. If you read through the character descriptions, because of the varying age of the characters, there’s really only one possible role for each actor. For me, it was Lloyd, director of the play-within-the-play (Michael Caine in the movie). The part is not a bad fit for me; the character is loud and frustrated, which are two things within my repertoire. I delivered a reasonable-for-an-audition performance (I think), but there was one other guy tonight who gave at least as good, and this was the third night of auditions, so this was not going to be my role.

But during the last set of readings, they were swapping people in willy-nilly, and for a while swapped me in on a character that I had not applied for: Selsdon, an actor. The character had five lines in the part I read through…. and for four of them, I got laughs. At times large laughs, coming from the director and his assistants. And things hadn’t been getting laughs in this crowd, particularly not Selsdon lines.

So why does this weird me out? Because the Selsdon character is supposed to be two to three decades older than I am. I really didn’t think that I’m ready to pass for decrepit. (In the movie, it was played by 70 year old Denholm Elliott, in his last film.)

Published in: on July 17, 2013 at 6:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Foley artists

I’m watching an episode of Goodwin Games with scenes with series regular Scott Foley talking to guest star Dave Foley. Had to look it up to make sure they weren’t related. Dave’s full name? David Scott Foley. Oh, the laughs they must’ve had on set! (Foley-comma-Dave’s exit line is brilliant.)

Published in: on June 18, 2013 at 4:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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