An Unintentional Sabbatical (I’m back, yo!)

I did not intend to be away from this blog for three months and two weeks, give or take a day or so. I also intended to write full biographies for every single contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race this season as well as do full write-ups of every episode but I just… stopped. The change in air day really threw me off. Rather than writing about the episode as it aired (on Mondays, which still are a drag if you ask me) I was watching the episodes on Saturday night and then attempting to write about them the following Monday… by which point everyone had weighed in and was there even a point?

reel to reel photo by https://morguefile.com/creative/Mrooczek262

I suppose it was all self-pity in a way. So what if I would have been late to the game in writing a review about the episode. A late review would have been far better than what we have had going on here… three full months of absence!

In the time since I have last written I have made some positive changes in my life, about which I will be writing more voluminously soon. One of them is that I am transitioning toward a more plant based whole food diet. You may be thinking… wait, don’t you already eat vegetables? Yes, I do, and I have eaten quite a few vegetables in the last forty years. (I just turned forty on July 30th.)

What I mean by this is I am working on following the guidelines of such books as Forks over Knives as well as Dr. Michael Greger’s groundbreaking book How Not to Die (title not to be taken literally, of course…) — I was a bit of a naughty vegetarian before this. At the onset of July as forty was staring me down like the bull on Wall Street, I thought I would try to go toward as much of a whole food plant based diet as possible and remove everything else from my diet — so that includes all things milk, sugar, and particularly oil. Yes… oil.

I have also gotten a lot more structured about exercise. In the past I have been fairly wibbly wobbly about things and working out “when I felt like it” and you know how well that works? About as well as you can imagine, assuming that you are imagining it being a colossal disaster.

I’m now up at four every morning, getting ready and doing a little personal development listening and lemon juice with warm water drinking, and then having a serving of an exceptional pre-workout supplement at half past four. I sit down and write in a paper journal for about half an hour and manage on average about a page a day, by choice — I’m sure I could go a lot longer or a lot shorter on any given day but constricting myself to a page makes me really think about what is worth writing.

At five I start a workout using an on demand workout service I have been paying for since its inception but not really taking advantage of properly until I started doing the Shift Shop workout program with awesome trainer Chris Downing. I’m now doing a second round of the program and will be doing a cool week long program called A Week of Hard Labor starting the day after Labor Day with trainer Sagi Kalev.

In the three months and two or so weeks I have also consistently sending out a weekly e-mail to subscribers of The Burnt Woods Review. That means that I’ve sent out about fourteen issues of The Burnt Woods Review… which means that yes, I have been writing! I’ve just been not posting anything here. This too shall change.

It’s the end of August and this post should have come a long time ago, but here it is. How are you doing?

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Coping Techniques for the Sabbath Observant Fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Since the move to Friday nights on VH1)

Firstly, yes I just had to edit the title and take the dash out of VH1. Guess what? I still think of it as VH-1 in my mind despite how long it has been since their re-branding / name change.

I am behind on posting episode reviews of RuPaul’s Drag Race (and at this point I wonder if I should even go forward with reviewing episodes older than, say, this last Friday… does anyone care for my commentary that long after the episode has aired? But then again, one of my first articles on this blog was about an episode of RPDR from 2013 and that continues to get views every single day…) and I haven’t even watched last Friday’s episode yet — eek! Don’t tell me who got eliminated — I think my wife and I are watching tonight.

We had a good thing going with RuPaul’s Drag Race. I got into a nice pattern of watching episodes with my wife on Monday nights and writing up reviews on Tuesdays. We still have the advertisement from the newspaper — Mondays are a Drag! — and photos of the billboard in Times Square advertising as much.

Then it was announced that RuPaul’s Drag Race was moving to Friday nights on VH1. No! Friday nights are sacred in more than one sense. As a Sabbath observant Jew the television goes dark on Friday at a certain time and we step away from computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc — digital distractions, you could call them — for a twenty five hour period. We connect with people who are in our immediate surrounding and read stories in paper books and magazines and take naps and have good meals. That being the case, RuPaul’s Drag Race has to wait until the following evening — and sometimes later! (as has been the case this week — I was at my mother’s home in New Jersey and she doesn’t have VH1.)

Here for your enjoyment are some Coping Techniques for the Sabbath Observant Fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Since the move to Friday nights on VH1)

1.In the spirit of our forefather Abraham, who would often host strangers — food and drink — open your Friday night meals to RPDR fans who do not have that special connection to keeping the television off on Friday nights. Not to tell them that they should turn the television on, Heaven forbid, but if they happen to be there, and the television happens to be there, who knows what will happen?

2.The Sabbath morning kiddush table consequently splits into two groups of people — those who have invited people over, and those who are strict about avoiding viewing — and those in the latter group need avoid those in the former!

3.Melave Malka celebration now complete with RPDR viewing. Those who have already seen the episode are welcome to join of course, as we are all family — but try to at least pretend to be shocked when you see who gets eliminated.

4.Avoiding social media in the absence of attending such a Melava Malka celebration, at least until one is able to see the episode!

5.In the spirit of #5, perhaps wearing a large button with the words “DON’T SPOIL RPDR FOR ME, HAVE NOT SEEN FRIDAY’S EPISODE YET” to clearly communicate this fact.

6.Not spoiling it for people wearing those buttons!

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine Episode Two – Phoebe and a Disappointing Elimination

So first things first — the queen that was shown popping out at the end of the first episode and which elicited shocked reactions from a few of the people turned out to be… and I’m going to cover this with a spoiler cover because no matter when I post this someone will get mad at me for posting it before they saw it somehow… Cynthia Lee Fontaine of ‘cucu’ fame – funnily the highlight of the episode turned out to be seeing Lisa Kudrow, whom RuPaul showed off explaining that he ran into her at the parking lot. Seems like something that could happen! Also apparently he got his entrance phrase “Hello, hello, hello!” right from Lisa’s character in the HBO program The Comeback, which was on in 2005 and then waited about a decade before it made its own comeback.

So this week was all about cheerleading, perhaps hinted by VH1 airing the film Bring It On before the episode. My wife insists I have seen this film, I do not have any specific memory of spending any time doing so.

The queens were split into two teams and had to perform as, well, cheerleaders! I actually thought everyone did a fairly smashing good job.

Everyone was dressed up in white for the runway, and at the end of the night Jaymes Manfield and Kimora were up for elimination, having to perform — and even though I thought Jaymes did a better job, she was the one that got sent packing. So it goes. On the plus side, she didn’t say anything about her cucu.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine Episode One – Lady Gaga, No Eliminations, and a Bonus Mystery Addition

I suppose the first spectacularly interesting thing about this episode that bears mentioning is the fact that it was made clear right away that there would be no eliminations in the episode whatsoever. Then there was, at the episode’s end, the sudden mysterious addition of a fourteenth contestant to this season — so not only did we end up eliminating nary a queen, but one was added — it was a bit like watching an average episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race in reverse.

And then, of course… Lady Gaga.


#DragRaceGoesGAGA

 
Shared from fuckyeahdragrace using Embeddlr

The entire episode was Gaga themed though the contestants also had an opportunity to show off their home towns as it were. I really enjoyed more seeing the queens recreate classic Gaga looks. My six year old son even recognized some of them, having been a fan of Lady Gaga for most of his life. Both of my kids really love to dance.

I don’t have too much more to offer that hasn’t been said already. Having to wait until Saturday night to watch RPDR is killer and the switch to VH1 seems strange but my wife observed that the stage and the judge’s table definitely look… upgraded. A bit like after South Park really got successful and The Daily Show got upgraded as well, so to speak!

Eureka O’Hara : RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine Profile

Of all the drag queens I have seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Eureka O’Hara has got to be one of the most mathematically named. (Get it?) She also has the biggest selection of things in a shop

Me and my Aja!! #beyourselftofreeyourself #phatfashionicon #dragrace #season9

A post shared by Eureka! The Elephant Queen! (@eurekaohara) on

Eureka is all of twenty-six years old and hails from Tennessee. I wonder how long it will be before someone tells her that she’s the only ten they see. (Am I dating myself?)

Amazingly, Eureka was with a friend and got hit by a drunk driver — how cars don’t all come with built in technology to prevent drunk drivers from driving is beyond me — but thankfully she walked away without a scratch

She recently was with her mother in the hospital — send your love to her family!

Eureka is hardly new to the drag scene, having won accolades including Miss Tennessee International in 2010 among other honors

Enjoy a video from a few years ago :

The season nine premiere is a week from today and has moved to VH1. No sign that they are going to do any Behind the Drag specials. (Have I dated myself enough?

Charlie Hides : RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine Profile

Charlie Hides — the name conjures many images in my mind but the most prominent one is of someone who is, well… hiding! Some people who see a drag queen see a person who is hiding, disguising who they really are. Of course on the surface this makes sense — out of drag they look entirely different. But is it really the case?

I read an interview with Charlie and loved this line :

I’m inspired by lots of things, music, art, comedy, design… you name it. I love old movies, coffee table art books, second hand shops and the latest couture collections, current pop music and rock classics. Creating makes me happy, the process that begins with having an idea then working till it becomes real makes me happy.

If you know anything about me it’s that creating makes me happy. (I wrote a novella called Kate, did you know?)

I look forward to seeing how Charlie will do this season!

Aja : RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Nine Profile

This year on RuPaul’s Drag Race there are four, count them, four different queens from New York (where I presently live) and one of them is the inimitable Aja, who calls her style of performance “Powerpuff Girl Stripper” and was named Ms. Williamsburg in 2014.

Furry monsters 💖 Photo by @ericrichardmagnussen HAIR by @queenlmnop

A post shared by AJA (@ajathekween) on

Feeling very kill v maim 😈 Bodysuit by @bcallabcalla Hair from @ardawigs Styled by @queenlmnop

A post shared by AJA (@ajathekween) on

While doing the research for this profile I was surprised that I already had come across Aja’s name in passing… last year, when Season Eight was wrapping up, as you can see here in this conversation with Thorgy Thor.

Will Aja come out on top? Will it be another New York win this year?