Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tampons in the Zombie Apocolypse

Let the record show that the only reason I'm writing this is because my brother David says I can't legitimately open up my bottle of fancy champagne until I write something worth celebrating. And homegirl needs some wine stat. I actually meant to write this weeks ago and just never got around to it. Like I never get around to most things... So here goes.

This blog is dedicated to that bottle of champagne,
which I will be drinking shortly
to celebrate my return to blogging.
Don't ask about the bananas and bare chest.
Long story.
Anyone else here tired of zombies? I know that I am. They're gross and boring, despite the few movies and television series that attempt to prove otherwise. (Warm Bodies is the exception. And the Shit.) In any case, zombies are a good demonstration of the philosophy that you just never know. And that it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

So freaking adorable. Though I would not tap that.

I started thinking about zombies a few weeks ago after LA was plagued by a rash of earthquakes. I was sitting at home by myself, when I felt a single jolt. My first conclusion? Some drunk ass ran their car into the building (much like I did when I was 16 and was backing out of the driveway by myself for the first time. True story. Though alcohol wasn't involved). But being too exhausted to investigate, I let it go. Maybe 45 minutes later, I felt The Big One. (At least the Biggest One I've Ever Felt. Tee hee, that's what she said...). I jumped out of my comfy chair and stood in a doorway. I was ok in the moment, but as soon as it was over, I instinctually called my mommy. When the call wouldn't connect, presumably because the circuits were jammed and you're not supposed to use your cell after an emergency, I started having a panic attack. I full on hyperventilated, even after reaching my half-asleep mother. As the on-site representative of the property management, I probably should have ventured forth to check on the welfare of my residents. But… rum happened instead. I would have been no good to them anyway with my nerves frazzled to hell.

Pictured: My worst nightmare

Lots of people on Facebook were making fun of those of us who collectively lost our shit, even though nothing really of consquence happened. While I am a native Californian and this was not my first rodeo, earthquakes are my biggest fear. Really, all natural disasters. But earthquakes specifically because of my geographical context and the complete and utter lack of warning. Chances are, if a zombie apocolypse hits, there's gonna be some kind of notice sent out.

The next 24 hours after the Big One, I felt 5 aftershocks. The earth refused to sit still and let me walk all over it. By the last one, I ceased to be panicked and breathless, and started being annoyed. The best way for me to deal with my anxiety over feeling helpless is to switch into project mode. I decided to finally put together my earthquake/tsunami/zombie apocolypse kit that I promised my dad I would make when I first moved down to Southern California in August of 2005.

Girl Scouts Prepare
Me: Before, Me: After. Pigtails and everything.

It's weird to think about what kind of things may come in handy in an emergency situation. Of course, I packed the usual: first aid supplies, bottled water, the combination flashlight/radio/phone charger/siren I bought on a whim during an ill-advised late night Walmart excursion. Then I started looking around at the random stuff I have around my apartment that I ended up stuffing in the ugly, hand-sewn tote bag I made as part of a mother-daughter Mormon activity night.

Yep. I made that bag. With my own two 12 year old hands.
And you never know when you're gonna need a bullhorn.
1. A floral hammer with Russian doll nesting screwdrivers in the handle. An unironic gift from my amazing, late grandmother. I know that she would want me to be prepared in case things get primitive and I have to construct myself some kind of shelter. And still be fabulous at the same time.

2. Playing cards, because I assume waiting for help to arrive will get pretty boring without electricity.

3. Garfunkel & Oates lighters, which I got an inexplicably large amount of after a concert at Upright Citizens Brigade. I don't smoke, but I don't like to throw away potentially useful things. Plus, Garfunkel & Oates would be amazing survival buddies.

What's your zombie apocalypse book?
Chances are it's a hell of a lot different than your desert island book.

4. "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater" by Kurt Vonnegut. I've never read it, but I bought it at a library book sale for a quarter a few years ago and never got around to it. (Notice a pattern here?) I think Vonnegut is a good choice for zombie apocolypse literature though.

5. A change of clothes: old athletic pants that probably no longer fit, my bright yellow 'P' t-shirt from high school (Go Hillmen!), socks, and some granny panties. Because no one is gonna care what kind of underwear you're wearing at the end of the world. But they do care about school spirit.

Sadly, I couldn't find a picture of the legendary P shirt.
Do they even still make them?
6. Non-perishable food items: all I had was ramen, Costco tuna, and a can of nonfat refried beans for which I purchased a cheap can opener.

7. Toilet paper.

8. Notebook and pens. In case I get the urge to pen the great Post-Apocalyptic American novel.

Fun fact, in the original screenplay, Julia Roberts was supposed to be snorting crack, not flossing.
But that would have made a less peppy survival tip.
9. Various personal hygiene accoutrements. Because as Julia Roberts tells us in Pretty Woman, "You shouldn't neglect your gums." Not even after a major disaster. Seriously, dentists may be in short supply.

Guts & Glitter
I found a happy face made out of tampons. My life is now complete.

10. Tampons. Because your period may not be able to wait for FEMA.

After I was done with my kit, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment. I took control over my destiny. And the universe will get no pleasure from fucking with me now that I'm prepared. And my dad couldn't be prouder. Unless I had fashioned the whole kit from duct tape.

PS. I think my kit needs a kazoo. And I just so happen to have a Garfunkel & Oates kazoo. Everyone is gonna wanna be my survival buddy now!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Attack of the Blarg!

I believe that I have invented or at least identified a state of mind with which I am all too familiar. I call it the 'Blarg.' Feeling 'blargy' is essentially a limbo of sorts. You don't want anything and yet you want everything at the same time. You just want to wear sweat pants and curl under a blanket, but it's really too hot, so you roll up one pant leg and stick your leg out of the blanket. You're hungry but you don't know what to eat and nothing sounds good. You're bored but everything sounds awful and leaving the house is unacceptable. You basically just want to sit around and watch Netflix only you spend hours flipping through the options because you can't decide on a single damn thing. You don't want to be alone and yet anyone unlucky enough to be around you is odious and therefore prey to your inner Blarg Monster. This goes double for your significant other, the poor bastard.

Google's depiction of the Blarg Monster

Forget about being productive. You'll just feel bitter and resentful at the stupidest things like the fact that you actually have to work for a living. Or the fact that in order to get the job that you really want, you have to devote your free time to honing your craft. You'll look at your bank account and stress that you just might not make ends meet this month and then go spend money you don't have online shopping for things that you don't really need. Like pretty teal cereal bowls that turn out to be not microwave safe (who the fuck makes things these days that aren't microwave safe? HEATHENS that's who). You'll try to cheer yourself up with things that normally make you happy like ice cream or music and yet the flavor seems off or your favorite song is suddenly annoying as hell.

A more advanced subspecies of Blarg.
(I didn't draw this, but it looks fairly accurate)

You're not really sad. You're not really mad. You don't really hate the people or things that are currently pissing you off. You're just knee deep in blarg. It's an existential angst caused by wanting everything and nothing at the same time. Somewhere between depression and PMS, (though PMS is often the culprit). It's just frustrating. And a problem thoroughly embedded in the First World. So I should really stop whining and just go to Trader Joe's already…


PS, I just looked up 'blargmonster' in Urban Dictionary and it does exist. Here is the definition: 'a person that rambles on while writing in a blog.' Heh.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lifetime Movie of the Week

I woke up yesterday morning to a lewd text from a guy I haven't seen in over a year. I sort of laughed it off and responded glibly along the lines of, "I'm doing well, how've you been?" Every now and then I'll hear from a proverbial "somebody that I used to know." It's nice to catch up, but clearly there's a reason we aren't together anymore. And with this particular guy, we were never really together. I mentioned him previously in a blog, but didn't go into detail because there was really nothing to tell. I always got kind of a weird vibe from him, so I lost touch on purpose. But we texted back and forth for a while anyway, chit chatting. I asked him if he was still with the girl he started dating after me, but he didn't really give me a straight answer. I told him about my boyfriend and how we've been dating almost a year now. Then he asked if I had any cute girlfriends I could hook him up with. The answer to which was a world of NO.

This photo came with the caption
"Every Lifetime villain ever."
He asked me to meet up for a cocktail as old friends. I didn't think it was a good idea, even though I'm still friends with some of my other exes. Besides there was no way in hell I was planning on leaving the house when I had so much Netflix binging in my PJs and procrastinating my internship assignment to do. Somewhere in that conversation, the tone shifted. He became predatory and creepy. He gave me an ultimatum to meet him by midnight or else he would tell my boyfriend I had been cheating on him. Which obviously I wasn't. I hadn't even talked to him since maybe February when I first told him I had a boyfriend and he left me alone.

I knew he didn't have any proof, since it didn't happen. I also knew he didn't know my boyfriend's name, phone number, or any other identifying information. Regardless, the fact that he was attempting to blackmail and manipulate me for no reason was scary as hell. He had dropped me off at my apartment in Pasadena last November after our final date. He remembered my address and that I worked for the company. He kept counting down to midnight. "1 hour & 53 minutes." "1 hour 11 minutes." "47 minutes." Then he texted me a phone number. "Still your office line?" He must have googled the property and found what was actually the Central Leasing Office number in Virginia. I told him I didn't work there anymore and even if he called that number they didn't have my forwarding address and wouldn't give it to him if they did.

One terrifying sonofabitch.
He didn't believe me when I told him I moved. He called me a liar as well as a cheater. At "25 minutes," he said he was getting in the car to come to Pasadena. I told him in no uncertain terms that this was harassment and that I would call the cops. He sneered and said that the cops wouldn't do anything. A fine at the most. Which really creeped me out. He knew the exact amount of fine. Like he'd done this before.

Even though I was telling him the truth that I had moved six weeks ago, and there was very little chance of him actually finding me, and he couldn't really do anything to me if he did, I was so unnerved that I was shaking. Someone wanted to hurt me, if not physically than emotionally. And if someone is determined enough, they can find you. Even with all the privacy settings in the world. I couldn't understand why either. I barely knew this person. Why did he want to "teach me a lesson?" All I could figure was that maybe the girl he was dating cheated on him and he was misplacing his anger onto me.

I actually still had her number from a time we all went clubbing together back when we were friends. So I texted her to see if there was anything wrong and to tell her he was really freaking me out. She never responded. So I'm thinking she's either lying dead in a ditch somewhere (I'm nothing if not melodramatic), or at the very least she changed her number to get away from this psycho.

Oh Lifetime. You get me.
I did end up calling the Norwalk Sheriff just to see what the protocol in this case would be. I felt like some white trash hick calling with baby daddy drama. I was trying to explain to the woman on the phone that it seems ridiculous to have to call about this kind of thing, but there were serious warning bells going off in my head. She didn't really take me seriously and just told me to change my phone number or at least block his and to call back if he made an actual physical threat against me. Since I couldn't honestly say I felt like my life was in danger, I had to hang up. Seems kind of strange that you can't call the police until something bad happens even though it's a possibility. Then again, I'm sure they would get overloaded with calls about all the freaks out there who aren't actually planning on any harm, and not be able to help people in mortal danger. Sigh.

So I just blocked his number. We weren't friends on any social media, and I don't even know if he knows my last name because I can't even remember his. Still, I'm a little freaked out. Even after my boyfriend reminded me that he has a baseball bat in his trunk and asked where that guy lives. (Not that he would seriously go beat the shit out of him, but it was a nice offer nonetheless). I also sent an e-mail to the office I used to work at and the one I used to live at just letting them know not to give out any information if anyone should ask. So embarrassing.

The whole thing seems so ridiculous, like a bad joke gone horribly wrong. I tried to reason with him and called him out for making less sense than a Lifetime movie villain. He just said, "Oh stop, u love me." WTF. So he's trying to extort me into cheating otherwise he'll expose me as a cheater? What kind of sense does that make? Oh, and by the way I DIDN'T FUCKING CHEAT, YA LOONEY!

I just want this whole incident on record in case I mysteriously don't show up for work one day… Also, just to remind everyone to make sure and keep your information as private as possible online and with people you don't know.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hutch the Intern

It feels very weird to be an intern again. I know that 26 isn't technically that old, but having been out of college for almost five years (JESUS CHRIST!), it seems like I should have outgrown the internship phase of my life. I have a full-time job with "manager" in my title, a 401K, and a benefits package (starting January 1st, so fingers crossed nothing happens in the next month or so. Crap. Totally jinxed it. Please don't slap me with a critical illness or horribly expensive accident, Universe!). These are not things normally associated with an intern. But they came with the territory of settling for a job that would actually pay for my exorbitant college film degree that I have no chance of actually getting paid to use. It's not that I don't love my job. On some days, it's damn near inspirational. Especially now that I'm not being harangued by angry crazies every day or having to run an entire 347 unit property with virtually no support from my colleagues.

What I picture Parallel Universe Hutch to look like.
But there are days when I see my peers following their dreams and actually achieving moderate success, that I think about Parallel Universe Hutch. What would have happened if I had found that one job that lead down the path I originally saw myself taking after college? Would I be an assistant to a quirky but lovable television writer, a ruthless but brilliant acquisitions executive's right hand, a slovenly, scatterbrained creative development head's Girl Friday? (Yes, I'm some type of assistant in all of these scenarios. Even in fantasy, I tend to be very realistic). Who knows. I'd probably be very poor though and living in a three-bedroom crap shack in Koreatown with six other broke post-grads. You have to pay your dues somehow. But the thought of unemployment and never-ending ramen scared me into taking something a little more lucrative.

True story, a resident really did give me a bottle of vodka once.
It wasn't really a gift though. He got it from someone else and didn't like vodka.
His loss!
Almost everyone who works in property management wound up there by accident but stayed because it's stable and can be pretty awesome. A lot of residents are really nice and sometimes they bring you treats. And vodka. (Which of course you don't drink in the office…You take it home and mix it with some cranberry juice like a lady.) It's satisfying helping someone find their perfect new home and opening the door to the next chapter in their lives. But other than some inventive sales pitches and techniques, there isn't a whole lot of creativity involved. I had almost resigned myself to this road, first Assistant Manger, then Community Manager, then Regional Manager or other corporate gig where I actually get the Friday after Thanksgiving off in addition to Thursday. And I probably would/will be.

I looked a lot cooler when I did this in China town.
Probably because I had a college degree.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, I got an e-mail. A small production company, which I will not name because I don't like to identify where I work, and also because the name is just too much of a cheesy coincidence, came across a resume that I had sent in literally years ago. Probably some time in 2010, which I spent the bulk of job-hunting, census-taking, and sign-twirling. Since then I've had three different jobs with three different companies, and lived in three different apartments. It seems like a lifetime ago that I sent that resume off into what I assumed would be oblivion. They were looking for an unpaid reader/development intern. Someone to read 3-4 scripts a week from home and discuss them maybe once a month. Something I could easily do in my spare time. How freaking awesome is that? The perfect side job just landed in my lap.

Why, yes. I am the Gatekeeper.

Not only did it come to me, but the entire process of finding out about it, responding that I was interested, doing an informal phone interview with the producer, and receiving my first batch of scripts due the next week, all happened in about eighteen hours. Kind of the opposite of every job hunting experience anyone has ever had. Sure, it's not paid. And if a script is bad, it can be almost torture to read it and have to summarize and make comments. But it's a toe dip back in the pool of the film industry. And I can do it without having to sacrifice my cushy day job and discounted luxury apartment! SCORE!

Oh Rexy, you're so sexy!

This will be my third official reading internship, though I was a judge for two script competitions during which I basically did the same exact thing. It's been a while since I've written coverage, but it's all coming back to me. What makes a script great, what could be improved, and the ultimate power trip: getting to determine whether it's a Pass, a Consider, or a Recommend. I am the Gatekeeper, you must pass through me mwa ha ha! Of course it takes a lot more effort to create something original from scratch than to critique something already in existence. But I am a firm believer that reading scripts makes you a better screenwriter. So hopefully this will motivate me to actually finish something and perhaps Recommend my own screenplay to the producer (who has a very thick New York accent and wrote a movie once starring Maxwell Caulfield. He's done other more impressive things, but mostly I'm just hoping he can introduce me to Rex Manning!)

Ok, I'll give you one hint...

PS, while I obviously can't disclose details about the scripts I read, I just finished the first one and it was surprisingly kickass in an Evil Dead 2 sort of way.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bloody Vampires

I meant to write this post a week and a half ago. Do you ever find that writing about something so long after it happened makes it far less potent? It's like there's this window of time where you have to capitalize on an experience by blogging, and if you miss it, it's like it never happened. But seeing as I have made a semi-commitment to blog again (mostly because I forgot that I had made $22 by blogging over the past three+ years and if I earn another $88, I'll actually get a check for that money), I'm going to write about a slightly stale topic: blood. Specifically, the donation of blood.

Just in case you don't know what giving blood looks like.

I gave blood a while back and while lying flat on my back, squeezing a rubber ball, and trying to distract myself from the needle stuck in my arm, I started making a list. These are all the reasons why giving blood makes you a better person and why everyone who is physically and emotionally capable of giving blood should do it on the regular:

  • I was not born with God-given altruism. I'm a very lazy and selfish person, not to mention unwilling to depart with any money that does not immediately benefit myself in some way. This means that I do not give to charities (Planned Parenthood would be the one exception, God bless them). I do not serve food at homeless shelters. I very rarely recycle, unless it is convenient. I imagine that I am like millions of other lazy, selfish Americans out there. Giving blood costs you nothing, takes up very little time, and extremely little effort. You get to be charitable and help people, by doing what your body does anyway: manufacture blood cells. (I applied this same philosophy when I couldn't be bothered to cut my hair for over two years and ended up donating it to Locks of Love. Literally, the least I could do and still help people. Though for some reason, it creeps me out that someone is walking around with my hair on their head. Blood isn't as weird like that, since you can't see it. Hopefully.)
Who doesn't love a free T-shirt? This one is especially cute.
  • You get FREE STUFF!!! I'm not just talking about the free juice, cookies, cheez-its, trail mix, and all the bottled water you can drink. I'm talking about T-shirts, free coupons for Coldstone or Baskin Robbins, free or majorly discounted tickets to sporting events like the Kings, the Clippers, the Galaxy, also free Laugh Factory tickets (which I have yet to take advantage of. Anyone want to go with me? Two drink minimum, but still, score!)
A cross between a cornucopia & a smorgasbord.
Although, don't be too greedy.
People will judge you.
  • One donation, which only takes about an hour total, could save up to three lives. Seriously. The American Red Cross sent me an e-mail not long ago to let me know that one pint of my blood was sent off to three different people at a hospital in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles. I used to live right by there. Those people could have been my former neighbors. Knowing exactly where it ended up, made the gesture a lot more tangible for me. It was also kind of weird. But still, cool.
Pictured: My blood (right), Your blood (left)
  • My ego gets stroked whenever the Red Cross hounds me with phone calls to set up my next appointment. They are ridiculously good salespeople, also possibly vampires. They know how to be persistent, overcome objections, attempt to have you refer more donors, and use many more methods I learned in my sales training classes. They like to remind me too that my O Positive blood type is Regina George popular. Everyone wants a piece of me. I'm like, really good at giving blood too. Great blood pressure, ideal hemoglobin & iron levels, easy-to-locate veins, no squeamishness or nausea around needles, plus I'm awesome and nurses love me. So even though you may only have Gretchen Weiner-level popular blood, or faint at the sight of needles, you are still important. Just not as important as me (according to the Red Cross).
A person who avoids exercise does NOT look like this, Google. Fail.
  • Giving blood provides you with one solid-gold built-in excuse NOT to exercise. Frankly, I'll let myself get away with a lot less valid reasons. But when a medical professional tells you in no uncertain terms that you are to take it easy for at least 24 hours (which for me often stretches into 48, to be on the safe side), you are just following orders by laying around, and eating your free Baskin Robbins. A reason to be lazy and actually feel good about avoiding the gym? Yes, please.
  • Since I obsessively google the health benefits of everything, I discovered that it is actually healthy to give blood. People who are regular donors have a much lower risk of heart attack and stroke. It gets rid of excess iron and subsequently free radicals in the body. My family has a history of cardiovascular disease, so this is definitely a good thing.
My actual arm with my actual bandage. Sexy, no?
  • I don't know if this is true for everyone, but I feel like I get a fairly decent buzz from giving blood. It's a bit like having a few cocktails, only without the hangover. I just get super loopy and everything is hilarious when you're lightheaded and woozy. And again, it's FREE! I wouldn't recommend actually drinking alcohol after giving blood though…
I realize that there are a lot of people who are not able to give blood for a variety of reasons. Some of which are somewhat outdated and not necessarily based on the most current scientific research. Some people are just petrified of needles. Though no one is especially fond of needles, except I imagine heroine junkies, I recommend looking away and thinking about things that make you happy while they're sticking it to you (tee hee). Like me with lists. Some people just can't, like a dear friend of mine who actually works for the Red Cross, that tries valiantly almost every time they have a blood drive, but is usually denied due to anemia. But she keeps at it, god bless her!

I couldn't find a picture of the Coke bottle blood donation scene.
So here's a picture of sexy circa 2001 menfolk.
Yes, it was a silly movie in a lot of ways,
but 13 year old Hutch was not complaining.

It's a trip to look down and see your life force pouring out of you while Luther Vandross's "Dance with My Father," plays in the background. Kind of makes me think of that scene in the not-so-seminal classic, "Pearl Harbor," when Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett donate blood into coke bottles. Yick. But again, focus on the good stuff: you're helping people, while being sufficiently compensated with free cookies and comedy and sports, while feeling good about yourself and getting an excuse to be lazy and silly. Not that I need an excuse.

I saw some cute clothes at H&M that I probably would have
purchased after using the restroom, if they would have let me.
In the words of Julia Roberts, "Big mistake."

Pro tips: drink plenty of water, have a good breakfast, and make sure you locate the nearest bathroom ahead of time because after all that water they make you drink, you will have to pee like a mofo. And woozily wandering around Old Town Pasadena with a bandage on your arm trying to find a store that will let you pee without being a customer makes you feel like you're in a very bizarre version of "Pretty Woman." True story.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Enter the Controversy

First of all, let me just say that I'm writing this on the wireless keyboard usually reserved for my desktop. Only I'm using my iPad. I just MacGyvered myself a friggin' laptop. I'm feeling very smug and impressed with myself. Especially because this means I can sit on my couch and watch Netflix and still write at the same time. Hopefully that means I'll blog more and maybe even write something worthwhile. Heh.

Now that was a damn good show.
Not exactly realistic, I'm sure. But entertaining nonetheless.

I mentioned briefly in my previous post that I'm wasting valuable procrastinating time watching the reality show. "Sister Wives." I hate reality shows. The only ones I will admit to loving are: "What Not to Wear," and "Say Yes to the Dress," which hardly count. But something about this show grabbed my attention. I've been on a polygamy kick lately, which seems like a very weird thing to say. But I've been reading The 19th Wife, and just watched a documentary about the scary compound polygamist, "Sons of Perdition." Both of which were excellent. I was also a fan of "Big Love," back in the day, though I stopped watching about halfway through the series due to my atrocious television ADD.

So. Much. Estrogen. I would feel bad for the guy,
but he's happy as a clam on prozac.
I guess the reason I'm so fascinated by "Sister Wives," and polygamy in general, is mainly the logistics. The majority of the show's content isn't terribly compelling and its subjects are not especially likable (the husband Kody is obnoxious and douchey but in a nice way, and the wives are mostly batshit insane drama queens who never want to hurt anyone's feelings and yet get their feelings hurt so absurdly often. Also, many of the kids have the stupidest names I've ever heard.). It's not that they're bad people. They're just normal. Normal, boring, folks from Utah. And that is why this show is so interesting (in spite of the fact that they repeat themselves over. and over. and over to the point where I'm currently concocting a "Sister Wives" drinking game). I'm caught up in the coordination of it all. How they accomplish basic tasks like grocery shopping, paying bills, going on vacations, packing up and moving. Suddenly things we take for granted become so much more complicated, especially if they have to be secretive about something so major. And yet, they have a whole team working to make it happen. It's just a different practical dynamic.

There's also a different emotional dynamic. The show explores the jealousies, insecurities, and divisions of time and affection that naturally emerge in such relationships. Even though the wives are well aware and willingly consented to plural marriage, their husband courting a fourth wife becomes a source of contention. Simple things such as whether it's kosher to kiss his fiancee knowing he's technically a married man, suddenly cause major (albeit exaggerated) drama. A woman with fertility problems becomes that much more sympathetic when she sees her sister wives with six kids a piece, and more on the way (Meri breaks my heart!)

The Brown Family Home

It's even more fascinating given that I was raised Mormon (distinct from the Browns' religion in that we do NOT practice polygamy). I know that there must be a lot of doctrinal differences, but based on what is depicted in the show, the culture seems very similar. The manner of dress, the colloquialisms, the prayers, and other minor aspects instantly take me back to my childhood, or at least what I witnessed around my uber-Mormon family members around Salt Lake City. I remember visiting my aunt in West Jordan and her pointing to a large house we were driving past on the freeway, whispering, "That belongs to a polygamist and his wives," as if it were a scandalous, shameful secret. Clearly there is a divide between LDS and FLDS, and a pretty fragile one at that. Both sides would be offended at the comparison, but it is undeniable, especially when it comes from the same root.

Regardless of my own monogamous upbringing, watching this show has confirmed my belief that I honestly don't think polygamy should be illegal. This is just another type of family. I preach tolerance and freedom of religion, and believe that the government shouldn't interfere in the personal lives of citizens who are consenting, law-abiding adults who are breaking no other laws. It's only right that it should be legal. That's not to say I believe in it. In fact, I barely believe in marriage at all, despite my own parents having been happily married for decades, and most of my many many siblings being hitched with young'uns. I'm terrified of commitment and I'm not even 100% positive that I want children of my own.

But I do believe in freedom. If they're not committing tax or welfare fraud, child or spousal abuse, pedophilia, or any of the other crimes associated with this lifestyle, then why the hell not? Yes, I realize it's problematic when viewed through a feminist perspective. That multiple women should submit to and revolve around a man for the ultimate purpose of breeding what some may deem obscene amounts of children, is definitely disconcerting. At the same time, it's not for me to decide. I'm not involved in their relationship. Just like they're not involved in my relationship. What's important is that they get to have the choice.

I highly recommend watching this documentary as well.
Some may also argue that they were brainwashed to believe that this is the only way of life. And so many polygamist wives are. But I'm not referring to the cultish compounds out in the boonies that haven't been exposed to anything else, as showed in "Sons of Perdition." They weren't given a choice and many of their practices make me sick. Each of the Browns arrived at the decision to become polygamists as adults after much deliberation. They made it clear that their children are welcome to choose whatever lifestyle they wish. Some of the children mentioned that they don't intend to be polygamists, though they appreciate the way they have been raised. I think that's admirable, seeing as many other religions or cultures forbid their children from even considering other options.

Fuck you, Warren Jeffs. Fuck you.
A major plot line of the show is the constant threat of a serious police investigation into their family. Because bigamy is technically illegal. As a viewer, it seems crazy to me that these folksy, though somewhat misguided, people could conceivably go to jail for a religious practice which should be protected by the constitution. Of course those laws were written to prevent sickos like Warren Jeffs from rising up and subjugating and abusing women and children, as well as other financial malpractices. But that is clearly not what is happening here. As someone whose primary political persuasion is based on the fact that the government should not waste time, money, and resources on unnecessary things (see my blog regarding legalizing marijuana for essentially the same reason), this sickens me even more. Are the Lehi police really so bored and rolling around in piles of taxpayer's money that they feel like chasing after a large family who just wants to extreme coupon, carve pumpkins and wear multiple layers of clothing in a burning desert?

I realize that this may be a hot-button issue for some people. Other people may not have even given polygamy a second thought. Personally, I hate debate and avoid any subjects more controversial than whether or not I enjoy "Breaking Bad," (which actually sparked quite the online tizzy, believe it or not). I just hope that people see this show and realize that these are not criminals. They are a loving, spiritual family, that has to work extra hard and sacrifice a great deal to stay together and maintain a strong bond with all the branches. It's almost admirable in a way, especially when so many mainstream relationships can barely handle one other person in their lives, let alone four.

Seeing as there's no way I'd ever become a polygamist, the legality of the practice isn't something that directly affects me. And as soon as I'm through with the show, I'll probably forget about it altogether. But for now, it's sparking a very small fire of political fervor that's usually neglected within me. Although the second the Browns try to cheat on their taxes or take advantage of federal social programs, I will turn on them so fast, every single one of their heads will spin. (That's my fiscally conservative side acting up again...).