Posts Tagged ‘ba.d.’

I’m not ignoring you.

I probably haven’t left comments on your blog recently.

Or replied to your last email, or seven.

Or tweeted you.

This doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you, or wondering what you’re up to. It just means my only internet is phone-based at the moment. If I’m posting online, it’s because I have something I really, really want to say before I forget. Or, like now, because it’s 4:30 a.m. and I’ve already streamed my quota of The Mindy Project on Hulu.

I’ve missed being online, a little, but I’ve savored it, too. Instead of constantly wondering what I am missing online, I have been immersed in savoring the offline. Instead of arising and running straight to the computer, I’ve laid in bed and listened to the trio of snores filling the air around me.


I’ve washed the dishes, made my rice, read my daily chapter of Just One Thing, and sat on the living room floor savoring a sense of home greater than the one I felt at my last place. There, two friends anxiously began a journey of seeing if they could build a family from friendship. So much was uncertain then, and is certain now. Read more…


FTIAT: The Ocean Roars, Too.

Anthony R. is better known to this blog’s readers as “Ba.D.” Since he’s worked hard to build his name, it’s important to him that name be included here.

I wrote in preface to his other guest post that “our relationship was built through the written word.” Before our son was born, I loved reading between hundreds and thousands of words written by him any given day. After our son’s birth, his written words became fewer, mostly reaching me in text message-sized bites.

I’ve missed his written words. I’ve missed their rhythm, so different than that arising in conversation, and the lovely heart so clearly revealed by them.

This post is a gift to me in so many ways, and one I am sure to savor for a long, long time to come.

ftiat img 200x200

The Ocean Roars, Too.

When Deb approached me to write a guest blog for her “For This I Am Thankful” series, I was both flattered and terrified. I used to be a semi-prolific blogger, but I’d not penned anything worthwhile in a long time; my current well of writing was dry. I was full of false starts, neat ideas that wouldn’t go anywhere, and lots of staring at a blank screen until I’d fall asleep at the keyboard.

I had no idea what to write.

I was lying in bed, struggling to stay awake and considering Seppuku when I heard the soft sounds of my son snoring in the other room, when the Eureka moment hit.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I snore. I’m not talking about just a little heavy breathing or a light purr. I saw wood. I am a chainsaw. I roar like a 747 coming down for an emergency landing, or a Mack Truck bearing down on a stalled out Datsun on the I-5 on a rainy evening: My snore is the Destroyer of Worlds and the Eater of Suns.

Of all the things for my son to inherit from me—my sense of humor, my dashing good looks, my penchant for bad movies, my funky eyesight, that annoying thing I do that Deb keeps telling me about—one of the few things I could have wished on him was my snore. Read more…

Conversations with Warriors


“Damn it, Deb. If we’re going to get married, you need to tell me these things.”

“But why?” I asked my fiancee, Ba.D. “Telling you things doesn’t change them. So why? Why belabor them?”

“Because,” he told me, “Then we are in it together. Like married people should be.”


“It feels miserable being so vulnerable, Rache,” I told my sister. “Like really, really, really miserable. Just terrible.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Rache told me. “Of course it does. When you’re used to the people you love hurting you, it is really hard to stop expecting that. Even years later. But with practice, you get better. It gets easier to see that even when they say the wrong thing, it’s not because they mean to hurt you.”


Fat Kid Rules the World (and my heart, too)

My movie-induced narcolepsy has frustrated my movie fanatic fiancée, Ba.D., for years.

I seldom actively try to fall asleep. It’s just that movies were for so long my bedtime lullaby, it’s hard for me to appreciate them as anything more.

Once in a while I find a movie it’s impossible for me to sleep through. More rarely, I find a movie that not only holds my wakeful attention for two hours but invigorates me even after its credits have wrapped.

Fat Kid Rules the World  is such a movie. The script didn’t so much whisper as sing through its actors.

“Troy Billings is seventeen, overweight, and suicidal. Just as he’s about to jump in front of a bus, he’s saved by Marcus, a charming high school dropout/street musician. The two begin an uneasy friendship when Marcus enlists the musically challenged Troy to become the drummer in a new punk rock band. As Troy’s relationship with Marcus grows, Troy’s father becomes increasingly concerned about his son’s new friendship.”Official synopsis

Photo used with permission

“Fat Kid” Troy (Jacob Wysocki) immediately won both my heart and my full attention. I would have stayed awake for two hours simply to watch him go through the motions of his life. And yet, each of the actors in this amazing cast held their weight not only collectively but alone. Through their words and silences alike, these actors created living characters who didn’t so much feel real as really exist. At the movie’s close, I knew and loved each of them.

It would be impossible for me to pinpoint any one thing that sold me on Fat Kid Rules the World. There were so many that shone: its relationships, its lighting, its locations, its humor, its tenderness. Its magic was not in any one piece but in many beautiful pieces moving together in perfect synchronicity; indeed, when asked what he loved most about the movie, Ba.D. waxed effusive until I cut him off at fourteen minutes. (I know it was fourteen minutes because I recorded him in the hopes I could post his response here.)

Like me, he found it impossible to choose any one part of the film more perfect than another. Still, I gave him a second chance, asking him to describe his favorite thing about the movie “in one to two minutes.” After four minutes, I told him to wrap it up. After five minutes, I stopped the recording and asked if we should try one more time.  He said we should.

That recording ran three minutes but felt insubstantial compared to the others. For indeed, how can you possibly say only, “This is cinematic perfection” when the rush of that cinematic perfection is still coursing through your veins?

Shockingly, the film has had a hard time finding its distribution groove. In a discussion following the screening, Ba.D. and I learned about the trouble with selling “a movie about a fat kid.”

Ba.D. had a lot to say about that as we drove home, shaking a verbal fist at Hollywood for trying to stick to movies easily boiled down to two- and three-word catchphrases. The movie, he said, would have virtually distributed itself in the era that brought us movies like Heathers, Pump up the Volume and The Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club analogy resonated with me.

At its most basic level, Fat Kid Rules the World is about a fat kid. The Breakfast Club is about a group of kids stuck in detention.

But is detention what you think of when The Breakfast Club’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” comes on the radio? Or do you grin as you sing along and remember the unlikely kinship that grew between its dissimilar protagonists?

Fat Kid Rules the World isn’t just about a fat kid. It’s about grief, friendship, anger, transformation, punk rock, and the unlikely kinship that builds between people who only seem unalike at the most superficial of levels.

There aren’t many showings of this movie scheduled yet. Check here to see if one is in or near your town. If one isn’t in your town, please request it by following the request link at the bottom of that page. It’s a little work, to be sure, but great things are worth the work, and Fat Kid Rules the World isn’t just great. It’s incredible.

Next time I see director Matthew Lillard’s name, you won’t hear me saying, as I did a few days ago, “Oh, hey, it’s one of those kids from Scream!”

Nope. Next time, I’m more likely to say, “Yeah! That’s the guy whose vision made Fat Kid Rules the World come to life on the screen!”

Photo used with permission

I’m not a movie reviewer. I’m barely a movie watcher. It’s hard for me to find the right parting words to show how much this film rocked me. Instead of the right words, then, I leave you with the ones I uttered after I stopped cheering when the movie ended:

I love this movie so much, I just want to kiss it. I don’t even know how I’d do that, but I want to make out with the entire movie. So much.

(For the record, I still do.)

“Our baby is going to experience racism someday”

Your Survivor questions for Ba.D.: answered!

One year before Li'l D

I met my honey, Ba.D., on the verge of my 2004 move to Japan.

Over drinks shared with a mutual friend, I told him about why I wasn’t interested in practicing law despite the law degree I’d soon hold. He told me how he liked his beer (“black and bitter, like me”) before launching into an improv Dashboard Confessional-style song that had me in stitches.

I moved. Ba.D. and I alternately exchanged emails and conversed through online forums. Our friendship developed online because that was all the distance between us allowed.

Recalling how much of our relationship was built through the written word, it struck me one day that I really wanted a written update. I wanted to see more words from Ba.D., and I wanted them on my blog.

Ba.D. agreed, but he wasn’t sure what he’d write about. After a couple of weeks, I suggested his stint on Survivor would be a gimme. He could talk about that for years, after all!

I asked you if you had any questions for him, and some of you did. He’s answered these here, giving me a sweet opportunity to remember all the time his written words brought me joy before I returned to Los Angeles.


What is something that you did on Survivor that you thought you would never have the courage to do?

Get on the boat and do it.  Seriously, I was aching to do it, but I didn’t know how scared out of my mind I’d be until I got on the boat in the middle of the Pacific and start paddling.  And yes, it is something frightening in the back of your mind to think that you’re out in the middle of the ocean, no life vest, sharks and about 3 miles between you and land—and only a flimsy catamaran between you and the cold water.  Yeah.

Oh, and what is the ONE item that you wish you had brought with you that you didn’t?

Oh, I brought it, I just didn’t get to use it:  A journal and notebook.  It was my luxury item, but my tribe didn’t win that challenge, so no go.  It was too bad.  I would have probably been a little more even keel if I’d had it.  Or a camera.  Yeah.

I suppose I could ask: What was the toughest part of the show for you? What did you enjoy most?

The two things that sucked the most: Dehydration, and this guy named Rocky.  If you’ve ever been really thirsty on a really hot day, imagine taking the biggest drink of scotch you can. Now run around the block like 3 times.  Then imagine doing that every three days without drinking anything but coconut water.  Dehydration sucks, and is no joke.

The other thing was this guy named Rocky who just rode me like an evil boys gym coach from an 80s teen movie.  Or like a glee club kid by a certain cheerleading coach.  Sartre was correct: Hell is other people.

Do you have any regrets about being on the show?

Yes:  Losing. Maybe not punching out a person or two (not that I’d be allowed to without facing some prosecution).

Deb told me she was in labor for 27 hours w/ your son. Do you think this makes her tougher than any member of the Survivor cast?

Yes and no:  Tougher than many of the pretty boy whiny castaways, sure—but many folks are just as tough, for different reasons—like Christy Smith, who went way far in the game despite being deaf and ostracized by her tribe, or Chad Crittenden, the first player with a prosthetic leg, or Cristina Coria, who before coming on the show survived being shot by a murder suspect.

Deb’s also tough as nails (I can tell you stories), but she refuses to audition for Survivor.*

Hmm .. the Chicagoan in me wants to ask if somebody pissed him off so badly, that he wanted to just make them “disappear”. You know, concrete galoshes into 500 feet of Lake Michigan “disappear”.

Yes, a guy named Rocky (see above) and a guy named Mookie.  I guess their names were totally appropriate for that question, huh?

Did you, or any of your fellow castaways have any military survival training, and if so, did it really help? 

I didn’t, but one of the older guys my season was a door gunner in a helicopter in Vietnam, so I imagine that counts.  From what I gather in talking to him, it didn’t help him at all.  Survivor is kind of its own animal.  You’d do better watching that guy Bear on Survivorman before going on.

I made up my own training schedule, consisting of trying to make fire from pretty much nothing and keeping it alive for 3 days while brushing up on my first aid and coconut opening skills.

In your view what is the right stuff to survive? What did you think was the right stuff at the time you applied/auditioned?

There’s survival and then there’s survival on Survivor.  There’s a kinda mix you need.  But I’d say its 1) The ability to think outside the box 2) A certain adaptability that allows you to work with almost any kind of people and 3) A level of “moral flexibility” that will let you do or say what you need to survive and 4) The ability to keep your humanity intact in most situations.

Looking across the seasons, which survivor do you admire the most and why?

This is actually a question on the application!

Did you go really hungry? Did they monitor you?

Oh yeah, the hunger is for real. People pay a lot for coconuts. When you’ve not eaten anything but for 9 days, there is a lot of the suck. You can live off of them, but gah.

Being a pretty laid back guy, did something/someone really make you angry?

Yes, see above about that guy Rocky!

How often did you laugh…if ever?

Not nearly enough.  But once I did again, things got better.

Honestly, did you ever get so hungry you considered eating one of your own limbs? Which one would you eat? Do the producers at least give you guys salt and pepper to season said limbs?

No, not my own. 🙂   You always eat the other guys first, starting from the flank … what, you’ve never read the story of Alive?

Was it hard to watch yourself on TV? Would you say how they portrayed you was accurate?

Parts were very hard, especially my last tribal council (I was watching it by myself in a New York hotel room).  And yes, for the most part it was me … edited and parsed down to make me look a certain way, but it was me.

What would you do differently if you could go back to compete again?


What was harder for you: the physical toll (being hungry, no sleep) or the social aspects?

The dehydration … oh man, the dehydration.

This one if from my nine year old son: Were you ever really REALLY scared? And if so, what scared you the most?

Yes!  Of falling off of cliffs and of sharks! REALLY SCARED of sharks.  Two of the deadliest sharks in the world (and one of the highest counts of shark attacks) are in Fiji where we shot the show.

Did you ever get a little ticked off that Jeff Probst would show up completed rested, showered, and with a full stomach and then proceed to yell at you guys with his annoying play by play during the challenges? 

You better believe it, though mostly with Jeff’s play by play.  It’s his job to do (because you’d be surprised how quiet it would be on tv without it), but man it gets iritating when you’re trying to concentrate on the challenge, or worse when you’re trying to hide your flubs.  You hear a lot of “Thanks, Probst.” from folks during the challenges.

Also, did the cameras bother you? Or did you forget they were there after awhile?

You’re hyper aware of them for the first day or so, and then you totally forget they exist.  Heck, you find yourself standing in these perfect little half circles for conversations without knowing why.  They’re like ninja! With cameras.

I need to know how I can get on the show. Seriously. This is not a joke. I have tried a few times. (Okay once.) But I don’t have time to mess around. I’m 43. I can wear a bikini. I’ve had laser hair removal. I love to camp. Who can you put me in touch with so I can get on that show. I don’t even care about the money; I just want to go somewhere hot and play.

This is one of the questions that I get asked A LOT.  Like once a week.  The best advice I can give on this is to just be interesting and willing to talk your mind.  They want interesting people from all walks of life, but you’d be surprised how “cookie cutter” applicants can be.  They’re looking for big characters, so, if you apply (and in your case if you apply again), make yourself into a character—take one or two little things about yourself that are big and just blow them up.  I went for the gamer nerd, and well, look where it got me?

Oh!  And the second piece of advice I can give is to be persistent.  Many of the non-recruited, cool players were fans who just kept on applying.  Leslie Nease (the really REALLY Christian lady from Survivor China) applied like 30 times before she got on.

And the third piece of advice is to know the game.  They really, really, really, really, want people who know the game.  My friend, Bobby “Bobdawg” Mason of Survivor Vanauatu proved that he knew the game by bringing in a huge flowchart to his interview showing who got voted off when, what their mistakes were, and their occupations.  Cochran from this season of Survivor is studying at Harvard Law, and wrote his entrance essay on how the jury on Survivor works in contrast to the judicial jury system, and flaws and advantages in both.

How did being on Survivor change your view about people?

Honestly, if anything it reinforced some of my beliefs:  If you treat people with some kindness, and at least a speck of respect, you can get pretty far in life.  I mean one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known won my season.  And yes, I know (and saw in spades) that people can really suck.  It really is a microcosm of the human condition, even as manipulated as it may sometimes seem.

* Ed. note: See Ba.D.’s answer on Jeff Probst’s play by plays for further detail. As you know from my road rage post, there’s little that says “I love you” quite like staying out of jail for your offspring.

If editing were weight-lifting, I’d be benching 3 ounces.

For months, I told myself I’d start editing the second book in the Glass Ball trilogy (begun by The Monster’s Daughter) just as soon as I finished drafting Elelu. You know, that book I joyfully proclaimed drafted, oh, five weeks ago?

I figured I’d take a week or two to celebrate having hit a milestone. Except, whoops! “A week or two” turned into chillaxin’ until the end of September.

We’re now five days into October. I’ve diligently set aside a portion of each morning for editing.

So far, editing is going swimmingly! I’ve created some graphics reflective of my October morning editing so far to help you feel like you, too, are a part of my editing experience.

As you can see, I mean that in only the most literal of ways.

5:18 a.m.

5:24 a.m.

5:37 a.m.

Ba.D. is unceasingly impressed by my editing skills. I’ve created a graphic representation of this for you, too:

(c) 2011 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.

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