rainbows: everywhere

one farmer's market bag
bursting with color
made with leftover yarn
and a rainbow spirt
by a favorite knitter


conversations with max & zan

We grew up in the 70s. Came of age in the 80s.
It was rad. So rad, we often talk about how rad it all was.

So you know, we edit, but never censor. Not language or ideas or emotion.

In this edition: Stranger Things
Max: Hello?

Zan: Hi. We’re into Stranger Things—way in—and through episode six. I’m still processing, but early eval equals love.

Max: Told you.

Zan: After episode one, I wanted to hang with the four boys immediately. I like the Sheriff. And the 80s set decoration, fashion, food, games give it depth. Allow for that mystery I was talking about last time—not enough technology to have all the info. Love that. All the family dynamics were good too. Science teacher was awesome. Barb was AMAZING—in her two minutes on film. Winona was, well, Winona—her acting leaves me scratching my head. It’s like, non-acting acting. Which, I guess, is a style.

Max: She got better, though, right?

Zan: The brother—liked him a lot—he made Winona’s character more believable.

Max: What else did you like?

Zan: I thought the ending of episode one was fantastic…the boys finding the girl in the rain. So good.

Max: I want to carry the curly-haired speech impediment boy around in my pocket forever. He’s my favoritie.

Zan: God, right? I like all the sarcasm. I like that the kids cuss. This is my big problem with middle grade characters—in books or films—they’re so washed out today. Hey, world, starting in at least fifth grade, kids cuss like adults. And they’re just words. Relax. Anywho, I liked the abducted boy too. His face when he was waiting for the thing to come through the shed door? Brave in spite of his fear. He wasn’t giving up. Such good kid spirit—in all the boys.

Max: Okay, this is more than I expected. I would’ve felt terrible if you hadn’t liked it.

Zan: So, question: Hopper and the mom know, Nancy and the older bro know, the three boys and Eleven know, but when are they gonna join forces? And by the way, if this doesn’t have a happy ending, I’m gonna be pissed. If both Will and Barb aren’t alive? Well, shit. In any event, we think it’s gotten better with every episode. See a few flaws, but overall it’s money.

Max: I only have one huge problem with it, but it’ll have to wait until you’re finished. Spoiler.

A few days later:

Max: Hello, Zan. It’s hot as balls here.

Zan: Hello, Max. It’s raining here. Lots. And also… Why didn’t you tell me so many threads would be left dangling at the end of Stranger Things? This is only the first season, right? There will be another season, right?

Max: Chill, little addicted one.

Zan: But what is Hop doing? Where is Eleven? What is Will coughing up?

Max: I have my own questions.

Zan: Go.

Max: Why in the hell didn’t the sheriff and Mrs. Byers take Eleven back to her family immediately? They all lost children, so what the fuck? I mean, all Eleven wanted was to go to the snowball and eat eggos? Damn it.

Zan: Oh my god. I didn’t even think of that. You’re right. That’s fucked. They should’ve taken her to her family. But wait…

Max: What?

Zan: I’m thinking of something Pete said after we watched the episode with Eleven’s aunt. How they set us up for no answers by making the mom damaged and the aunt jaded and disbelieving. And truly, Eleven’s mom? She wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind to care for Eleven.

Max: Well, it’s better than death.

Zan: Eleven’s not dead. She’s hiding out in the upside down and Hop has the secret to get her out. For now, he has to provide for her, feed her.

Max: Oh, I didn’t realize you wrote it.

Zan: Listen, smartass, you got me into this and there better be a season two.

Max: I promised nothing.

Zan: Max, I need a season two.

Max: Zan, I’ll wish and hope for it…as much and hard as I can.

Zan: Thanks.

Max: Word.


conversations with max & zan

We grew up in the 70s. Came of age in the 80s.
It was rad. So rad, we often talk about how rad it all was.

So you know, we edit, but never censor. Not language or ideas or emotion.

In this edition: TV, Movies, Little Darlings

Zan: Okay. So. Have you noticed how many OnDemand networks have shows set in the 70s and 80s? Do we love this? Whether we watch the shows or not. Or does this water down 80s culture?

Max: Well, in some cases, absolutely. It’s the ones that make fun of the 80s, you know? Big hair, Madonna posters, blah, blah, blah. Those leave us empty. That’s why you must watch Stranger Things. It’s like it was made in the 80s, not made about the 80s. Huge difference.

Zan: Right. The one we’re watching, Red Oaks, is a betweener. Definitely has an 80s feel versus being about the 80s, but it’s lacking slightly on the feeling it was made in the 80s. So, what shows did we love back then? I feel like it’s an endless list. Three’s Company, Taxi, Too Close for Comfort, Family Ties. The Cosby Show—hold the jokes, please. We must give respect to the actors beyond Cosby who made that show so. Fucking. Awesome.

Max: Truth. And speaking of… The Facts of Life. I bought the first season, with Molly Ringwald and the bigger cast. Do you remember that the first episode has Blair accusing one of the others of being a lesbian? I didn’t remember that at all from the first go-round! Too young, I guess. Have I mentioned I’d like to have a Facts of Life party? But I’d just end up with a bunch of Jo-s.

Zan: Hil. Arious.

Max: You’d have a bunch of Blair-s.

Zan: I don’t want to be Blair. I want to be the chick with the braids. Molly R’s best friend, I think. And for the record, about six months ago, I binge-watched most of that first season online. I must’ve missed the pilot though, because I don’t recall the lesbian plot line. Kind of edgy for the time, but important—if it had the right message. At any rate, those episodes remind me of Little Darlings. The movie with Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal. Loved—loved, loved—that movie. Like, loved it a lot.

Max: Okay, let’s unwrap all this. First, to clarify, I meant that if you had a Facts of Life party your guests would be a bunch of Blair-s, not that you’re a Blair.

Zan: Thank you. I think.

Max: Sure. Second, the girl with the pigtails is the one Blair accused of being gay. Thirdly, I can’t find Little Darlings anywhere. Apparently there’s a copyright dispute or some shit. And finally, I’m going to put this on a t-shirt.

Zan: Nice. And yes, I’ve tried to find LD too. So frustrating and stupid. But you missed something in the unwrapping process. What happened with Blair accusing Braids of being a lesbian? Was the message gay-friendly or homophobic?

Max: Disappointing ending… Braids puts on a dress and goes to a dance and something about a boy. Boo.

Zan: That sucks. But I think I remember the episode now. The message was more don’t-judge-the-tomboy. Wait. I want to look this up. Hold please.

Okay, yep, here Wiki tells us that critics thought the message was confusing. On one hand, Cindy (Braids) is told to be herself. On the other, everyone seems relieved when she falls for a guy during Harvest Fair. What do we expect, I guess. It was 1979, but still… Boo, for sure. On a high note, look how fucking cute Kristy and Tatum are in that poster. It’d be a great shirt.

Max: Indeed.

Zan: So I’m thinking about this tomboy thing. In LD, Kristy plays the tomboy, the tough one, and the movie’s premise is virginity as a competition. But they didn’t go down the lesbian path, as far as I remember. Which is interesting, because like Facts, LD featured fifteen year-olds, several of whom were cast as feminine and boy-crazy. So why not go there? Is this an 80s construct? Tomboy: not afraid of anything, including sex, OR tomboy: lesbian. Meanwhile other girls—feminine girls—could be anything, except gay. Message there? Feminine equals never gay, tomboy equals probably gay. Because there’s always the chance, right, that the tomboy will “grow out of it”? This might not be a thing of the past, now that I think about it. I mean, besides rare cases, isn’t the current tomboy only smart, nerdy, or athletic until they embrace femininity? Then they become sexy. And acceptable.

Max: Maybe. Remember Who’s the Boss? Alyssa Milano was all tomboy until that one episode where she girly-girls it up for a dance. As for today, it seems like if a girl is a tomboy talk turns to gender identity. Meaning people ask: is she transgender?

Zan: I forgot about Milano’s character as a tomboy. Another case of tomboy-ism cured by the dance…or a dress or boy. Ugh. It seems this is an issue for tomboys and lesbians alike, but transgender girls have whole other battles to fight. Double ugh.

Max: You know, I was so jealous of boys and how easy they seemed to have it. Jeans, t-shirts, messy hair. No pressure to be pretty or anything. I hated my big boobs and gross body. I think, if it had been an option, I would’ve wanted to identify as transgender. Not because I truly believed I was a boy, but because it would’ve been easier than being in a body I disliked.

Zan: But disliking your body and feeling you’re in the “wrong” body are different things. As I understand it, transgender folks feel a deep sense of being in the “wrong” body from a young age. You didn’t feel that, right?

Max: No, but for lots of reasons, including not fitting the cultural image of what a girl should want or be, I would’ve liked a way out of my body. I mean, I don’t think most women understand who they are until their sexual prime, and because of that, a lot of lesbians only come out of the closet in their thirties and forties. Makes sense. This is when we start to accept ourselves for who we are, what we look like, how we’re made. Before that though, don’t we wish for the easy way?

Zan: I think I’m getting your point. As children, we aren’t emotionally equipped to have a full understanding of the differences between sexual orientation and gender identification, and in the 70s and 80s, there were mixed messages about sex, but no one was talking about gender. If they had been, it could, to a child, seem like a choice between gay and identifying as the gender that looks more appealing, for whatever reason.

Max: Right. Try to remember being ten years old and all the silly ideas you had about what you would do when you grew up. If being able to become a boy—grow up looking like a boy, acting like a boy—was a choice, I wouldn’t have thought that was a silly solution for why I felt different. In the moment, it would’ve solved my dilemma with being a tomboy or feeling unfeminine and that would’ve felt like a wonderful, indulgent thing. Now, I’m completely happy with my gender. Still jealous of boys at times.

Zan: Well put. And this is why gender equality is a hot button issue for me. Girls’ and women’s experiences are different, but the definition of feminine fucks with all of us. I mean, once I stopped being petrified of boys I wanted them to see me as a girl, like me as a girl. But see and like me as the girl I was—a mostly ungirly girl. The deal is, I’ve always been fine with my girl bod and my girl traits. Where I disconnect—from childhood until now—is with girl experiences. Also, girl health has been a big obstacle for me. As you know, I’ve never felt particularly connected to my uterus, ovaries, et cetera. I don’t blame or shame them. I just always hoped for more cooperation.

Max: The health stuff just fucking sucks.

Zan: Is there such thing as transhormonal?

Max: Wow. You’re asking the wrong person. I’m too hormonally unstable to think straight.

Zan: Ha. We should form a club. Oh, the club already exists. It’s called perimenopause. So, I strayed off topic again. To get back, here’s a question… Which character in Little Darlings do you most identify with?

Max: Check it.

Zan: I love her. She was an After School Special regular. I’m IMBDing her.

Max: Me too.

Zan: Here she is… Alexa Kenin.

Max: Oh no.

Zan and Max: She died.

Zan: Right before Pretty in Pink came out.

Max: That sucks. Now that I’m reading this, I do remember her in P in P. The badass friend.

Zan: Oh, she was the badass in P in P? You have an amazing memory for pop culture. Who was she in LD?

Max: In LD she was the voice of reason throughout. And I would never participate in a bet about losing your virginity, so I feel I’m the most like that character.

Zan: I do remember liking that there were girls who questioned the bet. I remember being scared for Ferris (O’Neal) and Angel (McNichol) because I knew one or both would get burned. Which explains why I always relate to whichever character is the most scared of or most reasonable about boys. I couldn’t have played the tough or cute one because I’d NEVER take the bet. I would’ve been glad to be viewed as a chicken, teased endlessly, mocked even. Those things I could handle. Anything to avoid a weird confrontation with a boy. By the way, what does it say about me that I always want to be the supporting cast?

Max: Well, we’re alike that way. I’d always take the supporting role. They’re usually liked more anyway. Ferris and Angel were definitely larger than life. Very intimidating.

Zan: Yes, that’s the exact right word. Intimidating. So, next question… If there’s a time machine and you can go back and be a star-for-a-day on any 80s sitcom or movie, which do you choose?

Max: I’d be Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful. Minus the crush on Eric Stoltz. Yuck. The movie I’d absolutely not want to be part of is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I fucking hated that movie.

Zan: First, I have a love/hate thing with Ferris B. It has a good 80s feel. The sister is awesome. And I love the teachers and the school secretary. Yes, she’s a secretary. A double-awesome secretary.

“Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.”

So good. Anyway, I also heart Cameron. But I hate Ferris. He’s a used car salesman with good style and smarts. He’s a terrible friend and sexist to boot. As for Watts in Some Kind? Great pick, man.

And Eureka! Finally a film where the boy comes running to the tomboy…no dress, no dance…just a guy running to a gal in all her tomboy glory. I get why you’d nix him though.

Max: He’s just such a twat in that movie. I don’t really like him in anything.

Zan: I kinda agree. Except I think what’s-his-face in P in P is more of a mealy-mouthed douche. I wish Andy/Molly would’ve told him to fuck off at the end, at the prom.

Max: Here’s another reason why you must watch Stranger Things. The teen romance elements are realistic, stay true to the characters, and don’t ruin the story line. I think you’ll like Barb.

Zan: Gawd, peer pressure, what’s up? But okay. I’ll watch it. I’ve heard good things anyway. The trailer vibed Close Encounters to me. Which I liked. Along with all the kid/teen characters. Very E.T. To me, this is the thing remakes lack—that sense of mystery and hope that existed in the 80s. Today everything can be explained. I don’t know why I’m thinking of it, but the example that comes to mind are the Charlie’s Angels movies set in present day. Crime-solving women were just different in the 70s and 80s.

Max: The new Angels movies are pretty terrible, but I watch anything with Barrymore because she’s my wife and I support everything she does. Smile here. Of course, I loved the original angels. In fact, I went through a trading card phase—mostly 70s and 80s non-sports cards—and I have quite a few Charlie’s Angels first series. So cool.

Zan: Truly cool.

Max: But let’s talk about Christian Slater.

Zan: Oookay…

Max: You must agree that many otherwise amazing films have been jacked up because Slater was in them.

Zan: He ruined the skater movie for sure. Plus, he always has a look on his face like, “I might say something smart, but wait. No. On second thought, I won’t.”

Max: Tried too hard to be Jack Nicholson.

Zan: Yes! I was just gonna say that. Oh! It just came to me… Gleaming the Cube. That was the skater movie. Slater aside, it had a lame plot line too. I’m pretty sure I walked out on that movie.

Max: I feel like I only saw the first fifteen minutes.

Zan: Max. We must’ve gone together. I feel like whoever I was with also knew how horrible the thing was about to become and didn’t care about walking out and losing the cash we’d paid for the ticket. Better than watching a shitty movie.

Max: Absolutely better.

Zan: Listen, I gotta sign off.

Max: Me too. Mommy duties call. But look, get in front of that TV and watch Stranger Things.

Zan: Well, stranger things have happened.

Max: Very funny. Now, go.


hillary: i see you

75 Days Until the Election

Across time, many of the wisest among us have offered advice regarding the ridiculous, the unjust, and well, the stupid. In her time of political service, Hillary has certainly seen more than her fair share of all three, but her current opponent must take the cake. In honor of how gracefully she's handling the opposition's swing between fear-mongering and buffoonery, I've found some words of wisdom that I think we can all appreciate. Enjoy.

Whenever one person stands up and says, 'Wait a minute, This is wrong,' it helps other people do the same.



hillary: i see you

77 Days Until the Election

Across time, many of the wisest among us have offered advice regarding the ridiculous, the unjust, and well, the stupid. In her time of political service, Hillary has certainly seen more than her fair share of all three, but her current opponent must take the cake. In honor of how gracefully she's handling the opposition's swing between fear-mongering and buffoonery, I've found some words of wisdom that I think we can all appreciate. Enjoy.

Great spirits
opposition from



hillary: i see you

78 Days Until the Election

Across time, many of the wisest among us have offered advice regarding the ridiculous, the unjust, and well, the stupid. In her time of political service, Hillary has certainly seen more than her fair share of all three, but her current opponent must take the cake. In honor of how gracefully she's handling the opposition's swing between fear-mongering and buffoonery, I've found some words of wisdom that I think we can all appreciate. Enjoy.

I am
with stupidity,
but not with
those who
are proud
of it.



hillary: i see you

In the days since my last post, three things have occurred to me:

1. It's impossible to maintain a daily ritualistic art practice when life tosses several
challenges that need immediate solutions into the mix all at once.

2. It's important to attempt to regain a foothold on the ritual as soon as possible.

3. It's equally important to remain flexible and accept limitations.

With that said, I'm going to flex off my original plan to create a daily art piece for hillary: i see you, and instead, begin a countdown. To election day.

And today marks 89 days until the 2016 election.

If you saw any news yesterday, you probably saw the reports that Hillary Clinton's opponent (he who must not be named) suggested the use of violence to stop her should she be elected to office. Hideous, awful, scary. Whether you like and support her or not, there's no room for this. It does, unfortunately, reaffirm the reason I picked Hillary as the focus for my daily art ritual. It's time she be shown as a person, who was a child, a teen, a young woman (a kid) with aspirations for herself and the world.

Inside all of us is a kid like that, who had a vision for the future. Who wanted to put it all on the line and see if the risk paid off. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes fear or practicality stopped us from even taking the first step. Other times we messed the whole thing up by saying the wrong thing, including the wrong people, or making the wrong choice. Many times we met people who didn't agree with our ideas and offered only critique and road blocks. We may have made them our enemies, despising and fighting them.

In the end, we grow up, look back, and shake our heads, wishing for a do-over or laughing off the missteps. And we try to do better. Every day. In every way we can. And if we've gained emotional intelligence, we understand that enemies make our pursuits difficult. A struggle. Ugly. So, we learn to argue, disagree, and compromise with wit and grace. We avoid hateful, aggressive behavior and we never (never) suggest violence as a solution. Because we recognize, deeply, that inside every opponent is a youthful spirit that should never be extinguished.

My wish? As the days click off and we near election day, I hope more voters see candidates as people. Who were once children, teens, young adults. Kids. With big hopes for the world. If you want to try it, find a photo of any candidate as a kid. See if it doesn't soften the heart, even just a smidge. And from that place, it becomes a lot easier to speak out against violence toward anyone.


hillary: i see you

day nine & day ten

so, i wondered... 

i see hillary my way, but how do others see her?

"Hillary has spent the last thirty years proving what she sees in us. Not our color, gender, or economic status, but our capacity to grow into thriving adults able to contribute great things to this country."

American Ferrera in speech to DNC

"You are the smartest, most qualified person for this job... If I look at other candidates, equal rights for women--the only person I can look at is you."

Ellen DeGeneres speaking to Hillary


hilllary: i see you

day 7 & 8

this past week, I've learned many interesting things about hillary, the child, the teen. as innate traits, these things explain a lot about who she is today. why she takes a certain path when faced with opposition. why she responds a certain way when critiqued. why she laughs when others wouldn't. and why, when others shrug their shoulders, she gets down to business. here's my list:

has deep inner courage
trusts herself
accepts challenges readily
follows through
finds value in helping others
persists in the face of gender inequality
has confidence in ignoring nonsense
takes ambitious action


rainbows: everywhere

InStyle, WireImage, FilmMagic, Getty Images

hillary: i see you

Day 4 and 5
art with commentary

Hillary sported wing-tipped glasses & 
made pant suits jokes at ceremony for 
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Michael Hammer. 

Yesterday, on what would've been Day 4 of this art campaign, I opted out of art making in order to follow a spark of curiosity regarding a writing project. One thing lead to another with said writing project--a story that includes a smidge of politics--and I ended up recalling memories of my own Student Council days, which began in fifth grade. Eons ago. When I was silly and loud but smart and organized. When I saw student government as fun. I mean, representing my classmates ideas, organizing fund raisers, and running the school store? All fun things, right?

Now lots of folks might say government, at any and all levels, requires a serious attitude, and it's true that the older I got, the more serious StuCo meetings became. But the councils were made of people and people have senses of humor. Well, most. And life, it turns out, is pretty difficult to navigate without laughter, so it shouldn't be a surprise when it shows up in places we'd least expect it. Like political campaigns. But here's the rub...

If we pay attention to how men and women in government are portrayed when making jokes or laughing, we find men getting away with more chuckling, humor, and sarcasm than women. If you don't believe it, compare google image searches of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, or Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton with the descriptor "laughing." On average, it takes 15 photos of any of these men until we see a photo where they look angry, maniacal, or ridiculous. It took only 3 photos until one like this appears of Hillary. If we question where the caricature of Hillary as unfunny, unfriendly, or inappropriate came from, I'd say it's grounded less in truth and more in perspective.

But the bottom line is this: if we want little girls and young women to see public office as gender equal at all levels, we have to allow female politicians to have their unique brands of humor. Sharp, witty, silly, or dry. Smart, goofy, loud, or mild. Let all of it be welcome. Because in the end, girls just want to have fun--damental rights when it comes to humor.