Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm The (fucking) King of England!


The long-awaited Season 2 premiere of The Tudors aired tonight, and they wasted no time diving right into the thick of it. I, for one, have been a loyal and devout fan of Jonathan Rhys Meyers since the Bend It Like Beckham days (excellent film, by the way), so of course I anxiously awaited the first season of The Tudors last year as well (it did not disappoint in the least). For the unbaptized, the series dramatizes the now infamous story of the Tudor legacy, with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in all of their sinister glory, and takes judicious liberties with what those of us with a penchant for studying history have come to know as the "facts". Normally, this disregard for the trivialities of the truth would be quite irksome to me; however, The Tudors does it with flair, panache, and not a little bit of steamy and lascivious carnal debauchery. It's hard to reconcile the Henry I know of from history, he of the fattened gut and receding hairline, with Rhys Meyers' dashing, virile and *masculine* Henry. In an NPR interview recently, the screenwriters dismissed the historical inaccuracies by stating that Rhys Meyers' Henry perfectly embodies the robust, egotistical and lustful antics of the real King, in a way that the real Henry probably never could- regardless of the fact that he himself had lived them.

As much as I adore Rhys Meyers as the King, I loathe the elfin Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, even as I recognize that this is most likely a product of her talent in portraying the infamous home wrecker.

Her ubiquitous presence dominates throughout; she struts about court with her own attendants (!) like the cock of the walk, despite the fact that Katherine of Aragon remains Queen. She flies off the handle at Henry on the matter of Katherine continuing to outfit him with shirts, convinced this treasonous behaviour signifies there being "three in this marriage." The irony and arrogance of this statement makes my skin crawl. Even so, I cannot take my eyes off of her. She is electric. Maria Doyle Kennedy's Katherine of Aragon is simply striking, as she continually fights off Henry's attempts to send her away. By episode's end, however, Henry and Anne are off to cavort together, while Katherine is banished from court.

Yeah, he won't go near her in this season

The impetuous Charles Brandon, who couldn't keep it in his pants throughout season 1, has remarried a 17 year old girl, ostensibly for love (!). The most delightful performance of the episode was certainly that of Peter O'Toole, and although his one and only scene lasted approximately 3 minutes, it was brilliance. Although I can't help but think he looks like death warmed over, he sparkled as a wicked and nefarious Pope Paul III.

Your Papal Vestments are Showing

The entire tone of this episode, and clearly what will be that of the season, is darker and harder than that of the first. In Rhys Meyers' estimation, Henry has finally grown up. Here, Henry is brooding and contemplative, anxious to have his annulment granted and eager to wed and bed Anne. In the first season, the King cares little for politics and posturing; he dismisses himself from official business to "play" (he fucks the brains out of a lady-in-waiting). Here, we see the first shadows of what promise to be strains in his relationship with Anne (her snapping over the shirts). He's even cultivated a little 'stache, perhaps foreshadowing the full red beard Henry would famously sport. What was sorely missing, however, and surely in keeping with this more somber mood, was the steamy, unadulterated hedonism so liberally peppered throughout the first season. TWO sex scenes? That's all you can give us?! With one of them not even resulting in sex? And rather bland ones, at that. Regardless, the show's creator, Michael Hirst, tells TV Guide that "fans can look forward to a future scene with Anne and Henry that will be the 'hottest, sexiest, most passionately violent scene ever seen in a TV show.'" I cannot, off the top of my head, recall what currently reigns as the "hottest" sex scene in television history, but this is Showtime, son. It better be good is all I'm saying.

Copious amounts of sexual gymnastics or not, this season promises to be nothing short of thrilling. Hell, in 10 episodes, we have to conclude Henry's famed "Great Matter", obtain a divorce/annulment, break from the Holy See, declare ourselves "the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England", finally fuck Anne Boleyn to a satisfactory conclusion, knock her up, birth The Virgin Queen, celebrate upon the death of poor Katherine of Aragon, miscarry the coveted male heir, and convict Anne Boleyn of high treason and incest and have her head swiftly removed from her body. I cannot wait for next Sunday.

Oh, and Tracey Ullman's new show "State of The Union" premiered following The Tudors. She is one of the most talented impersonators I've ever seen; having been a fan of hers for ages, I can tell you that the Bollywood pharmacy sketch is one of the funniest things I have seen in ages. If you have the chance to catch it, it's well worth watching for that piece alone.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On a lighter note...FASHION!

Wow, this whole blog-writing thing has really got me hooked. I need to lighten the mood after that really heavy post. I'm in the mood to spill some random junk out of my brain and onto the page. I want this whole thing to be pretty random, so, here's a picture of the purse I just bought:(Betsey Johnson Betseyville, Diamond Girl)

and some shoes I'll buy when I get paid again:(Lacoste, Ithia)

The shoes I'm considering for my wedding day, this upcoming June (the gown is all lace):(Stuart Weitzman, Lingerie)

These shoes do make my heart beat a little faster...I'm considering them for the wedding, but at a staggering $800-something, I doubt my shoes eating up more coin than the flowers will go down easily for anyone:(Christian Louboutin, Coquine)

Hmmm, what else?

love love love American Apparel:
Gotsta get me a pair of those...and what's with people who wear leggings alone? Like without a dress, or even a tunic?

I'm thinking about wearing this dress to my bridal shower next weekend:(Betsey Johnson, Pink Polkadots)

or this one:(also Betsey)

or maybe this one, which is covered in iridescent sequins and is absolutely adorable:(Betsey again)

OK, that's all.

A reason to challenge your preconceived notions

The following post originally saw life as an essay on my MySpace blog, and I felt the need to include it here as well. Following the essay is a response to this blog that I felt was appropriate to include, as well as my response to that comment. It's very interesting to see the debate this sparked, albeit unintentional.

I'm taking this opportunity to come clean about something that absolutely infuriates me, and I'm putting it out there to inquire as to the presence of like-minded individuals in this, my Myspace-universe. I have only just learned that for a position I have recently applied for as an Administrative Assistant, I will be required to take a 6-panel drug screen. I have been screened before prior to accepting a position, and regardless of the copious amounts of cannabis I had smoked in the years prior to said test, I miraculously passed and was able to take that job. This was years ago, before I was fully aware of the completely discriminatory nature of the drug screen. In my American-centric, Protestant Work Ethic indoctrination, I'd come to assume that anyone who would fail a drug screen would be undeserving of the position anyways, given the fact that they were most likely incompetent, lazy pot smokers or freaked out meth addicts.

What I didn't take into consideration was the tremendous amount of recreational pot smokers who perform perfectly well at their jobs every day, and *shockingly* still choose to smoke a joint or two on the weekends. Given the Puritanical society we have all been raised in, these individuals defy logic. "A person who smokes pot on a Saturday afternoon and is still able to wake at 6 a.m. Monday and put in a full and productive week?! IMPOSSIBLE! I have seen "Reefer Madness", and I know first hand the evil that demon weed can provoke!"

This is not a diatribe about Marijuana, or the fact that it should be legalised. At this point, if you know me well enough you know that I am all for that. Instead, this is about the fact that a 6-panel drug screen tests for the presence of substances other than Marijuana. Oh sure, you have the old standards in there: Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine), Morphine and opiate-derivatives, Oxycodone, and Methamphetamines. But something struck me as rather odd as I scanned the list of substances detected by at least one test, the top listed on a routine Google search of "6-panel drug screen" ( What struck me was the inclusion of a class of substances familiar to anyone in psychiatric treatment: Benzodiazepines, better known to their users as Alprazolam (Xanax), Valium, Ativan, and their ilk.

Now this will come as no surprise to those who know me, but long ago I was diagnosed with a relatively debilitating and remarkably common condition, Generalized Anxiety Disorder with concurrent panic attacks. This disorder and its concomitant panic and anxiety attacks can be, amongst other things, humiliating, disabling, painful and immobilizing. They significantly affect my quality of life and the lives of those around me. As such, my physician has LEGITIMATELY prescribed Xanax for me, for the betterment of my mental state and my standard of living. I am in no way ignorant to the very real fact that every day, around the world, people abuse prescription medications, especially Alprazolam. The resultant effects of this class of medications is recreationally enjoyed by some, but the fact that it simply allows me to go about my day to day life without severe implications is a reality for not only myself but millions of others.

That being said, its abuse and misuse has categorized Alprazolam as a Schedule IV substance as outlined in the Controlled Substances Act by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Here is a concise description from the United States Justice Department as to exactly what constitutes a Schedule IV substance (

Schedule IV

• The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

• The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

• Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

• Examples of drugs included in schedule IV are Darvon®, Talwin®, Equanil®, Valium®, and Xanax®.

For reference purposes, Schedule III's are substances such as Anabolic Steroids, Ketamine, Hydrocodone/Codeine, and Marinol (a derivative of THC used by Chemotherapy patients).

However, the abuse of medications of all sorts is common place in today's society. Can't sleep? Tylenol manufactures a magical little OTC pill that will relieve relieve your pain AND soothe you to sleep. Don't need the concurrent pain relieving properties? Hell, they now offer an all-sleep, no Acetaminophen formulation called "Simply Sleep". Could you be a victim of restless nights and not even know it? Here's a handy checklist to see if you could be affected, taken right off of the "Simply Sleep" page:

"You're probably not getting the sleep you need if you:
* Feel groggy and lethargic in the morning
* Feel drowsy during the day
* Need more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
* Wake up frequently during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep"

Who DOESN'T feel groggy or lethargic in the morning, or occasionally drowsy during the day? I usually wake up frequently during the night if I've had too much water before bed- to PEE. And what the hell is NyQuil if not one of the most over-used and over-abused all-purpose cold formulations available (that also tastes strangely of death)?

I've gone off topic on a tirade about the evils of drug companies, no secret to anyone who reads the paper or watches T.V. I am no stranger to the fact that we as a nation are far too dependent on synthetic substances and medications to sustain our quality of life. We take medicine for every conceivable ailment that afflicts us. But this isn't about that, either.

What I am getting at is the fact that the United States government dictates that workplace discrimination is against the law. This type of discrimination takes many forms: harassment/disbarment based on race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, disabilities or age; the one I am concerned with in this essay is disabilities. There is an entire Act that outlines the regulations against workplace discrimination based on disabilities. It's a little ol' thing known as the Americans With Disabilities Act. What a quaint title. And here is who it covers (

"An individual with a disability is a person who:
* Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
* Has a record of such an impairment; or
* Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Hmm, interesting to note that individuals with mental impairments are included in this act. So then it would stand to reason that the disbarment or disinclusion of said individual from employment with a company based on the presence of a mental impairment is ILLEGAL. Now wouldn't the natural conclusion then be that if an individual is being TREATED for said mental condition, by the means of legal, safe and prescribed medications (medications that allow for that person to sustain a quality of life and continue to be a productive, active member of society), that the presence of Benzodiazepines on a routine and required 6-panel drug screen would consequently bar them from employment, and would that very disbarment in itself be considered discrimination, allowing said individual the legal recourse to sue the fucking shit out of that employer?! Remember, the routine drug screening tests are considered "Qualitative Assays", that is, they test simply for presence and not quantity. So when an employer contracts a company to screen potential employees, the employer is only informed of whether the candidate passes or fails; they are not told specifically what portion of the test was failed, or for what substance.

Because of this, I am now afraid that I might fail my drug test. Benzodiazepines pass out of your system in 2-3 days. I take my medication when necessary, and I can occasionally go some time without taking it. However, is it fair for me to have to stop taking my prescribed medication, regardless of need, because of the potential to test positive for its LEGAL use and subsequently lose a job opportunity? Is it fair that I even be expected to take this test, and potentially fail, given the fact that I am doing absolutely nothing wrong or illegal? Because some people abuse this medication, I am forced to be tested for it, regardless of the fact that I take it for a legitimate purpose. Does any one else see the fallacy and blatant, unquestioned discrimination inherently present in this type of policy? Drug testing is wrong; it discriminates potentially exceptional candidates based on draconian and Puritanical values.

Below I have posted an interesting essay that goes into detail on exactly why drug screens should be considered outright workplace discrimination and why they should be eliminated altogether:

I ask that regardless of your personal beliefs on the subject of marijuana and its legality, that you read this article with an open mind, and consider individuals such as myself who have been or could potentially be barred from employment based on the reasons I have discussed above. If I had not Googled "6-panel Drug Screen", I never would have even known that Benzos are tested for, and I would have continued using my prescription without concern. Now I will have to stop indefinitely, and that is remarkably unfair to me, and will have God knows what possibly detrimental results. Many people have probably never looked into exactly what they are tested for, and have gone on to fail these tests, unfairly so.

When properly treated and managed, not a goddamn thing about my disorder prevents me from performing my job to the utmost; every supervisor I have ever had has applauded me for beyond exceptional job performance. I typically outshine every colleague, and my very presence and performance often threatens those above me, based simply on the fact that I always commit myself 110% to whatever task is at hand, and I routinely exceed goals set for myself and my colleagues. Is it fair that I am then discriminated against based solely on the presence of a substance that allows my mind to calm down enough to then ALLOW me to excel at my job? Perhaps it levels the playing field by weeding out exceptionally qualified individuals such as myself, leaving the substandard and average ones to contribute the bare minimum to a company's workforce. You be the judge.


Anonymous response #1:

"1. I smoke weed way more often than once a week and I go to work every day and do well enough to be considered top among my peers, those who do and who do not smoke weed.

2. You definitely should be on xanax. Seriously. You need to be on xanax. Do not stop taking xanax. Think of Tom. (side note: recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, now a fan of the lithium club. Has done wonders to normalize me.)

3. EMPLOYERS CHECK FOR PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS???? WTF???? News to me.... When I was asked to take a drug test I invoked my right of refusal. When they asked why I said "Because I view that as an invasion of my privacy." and nothing more. Shewas very suprised, leaned back in her chair and said "okay." What suprised me was that I still got the job.... Didn't take a drug test, but the company still wanted to work with me. Weird, huh. Thats how I go the job I have now, which I have been at for a year. Sometimes you need a steel pair of balls in life.

4. Stop using wikipedia as a source. Use the sources cited in the article as a source. It punches a hole through an otherwise strong argument.

5. The information and the pamphlet itself are products from a graphic design/marketing firm and the drug company which manufactures and brands the product. Medication is a BUSINESS which pays people like me to sell you whatever I am paid to. I don't care if you are a child, a grandfather, a teacher, or a monkey. I want you to buy because then I get paid and can go buy. You're right -- "Who doesn't feel like that?" Exactly. That is the point.

6. DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATION. Seriously. No job or potential job is worth risking your health. If you are that worried about it, tell them your situation. Fuck, forward them here.. Or say "This is a violation of my privacy." and if they want to work with you and not test you, great! Otherwise, look for another place. Some people don't do drugs, I don't do drug tests."


Thanks for the comments. As for a right to refusal, that does not exist here. According to the law on the books, a company has the right to administer a drug test, and if you do invoke a right to refuse, then the offer is no longer extended and you are barred from employment. At this point, the economy in Michigan is so bad, I have applied to easily 300+ jobs in the last 2 months and I have had only 1 interview. One. Out of 300+ applications. That's pathetic. No one is hiring. The economy is in shambles. So to be fair, I really don't have options. I need a job, and I am desperate to get whatever I can. As such, it's not easy for me to just pass this opportunity up if there is nothing else on offer.

As for Wikipedia, I didn't really intend for this to be a formal or scholarly piece intended for inclusion in a paper or journal. I was using that simply because it was the most concise and compact format for me to convey exactly what a Schedule IV substance was for those who are unaware. I wouldn't necessarily think that punches a hole in my argument, rather informs someone who is unfamiliar with the Controlled Substances Act. That being said, I've removed the Wikipedia source and instead sourced my quote from the U.S. Justice Dept.'s website. I'm well aware of the inappropriate nature of citing Wikipedia as a source for a scholarly piece.

I understand the concept of marketing, I worked at a marketing firm. So I know very well that the point of their marketing campaigns is broad and general demographic targeting, and that the language they use will sway many or most to purchase their product. That's Marketing 101. The purposes of including this in my article was simply to highlight the absurdity of that fact, and allow people who have never really given that any thought to actually mediate for once on just how pathetic and gullible we as Americans can often be. We are a nation of consummate consumers and those less informed of subversive marketing techniques never really give a moment's consideration to the way we are all influenced and the fact that DTC advertising (Direct To Consumer drug marketing) sends millions of people a year to their doctors requesting medications they would have no use for (women requesting Viagra, etc.) I could write at exhaustive length on that abhorrent travesty of advertising and ethics. And having worked in a hospital I am also keenly aware of the business that is medicine, and the fact that as a money-making enterprise, profit often takes precedence over the needs of desperately ill patients. That disgusts me, but I recognize that reality nevertheless.

I would like to say that I won't stop taking my meds, but I probably will. I, like many Americans, don't have much of a choice now that I am unemployed. I need money, simple as that, and no one is hiring. So if my choice is to stop my meds and get a job, and then start them again, or not stop and fail a drug test, barring me from the only job offer on the table, then I think my hands are rather tied on this issue.

Thanks for your response, I was hoping this would start a lively debate and get people thinking about an issue that many have to deal with but few discuss. And I wouldn't be surprised if I actually get a law suit out of this should I be refused employment.

p.s. The 6-panel drug screens do not test for psychiatric drugs per se, rather they test for a class of substances called "Benzodiazepines", which are used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among others. So to say that routine drug screenings test for psychiatric drugs would be incorrect.

Bonjour encore, mes chers petits amours

Hello. Lovely to meet you.

At the behest of a dear, dear friend (, I have decided to enter the vaunted realm of this, the "Blogger" Universe. Being that I have never maintained anything that could be considered an actual, respectable blog before (I'd rather not count MySpace), I'm rather nervous about this undertaking. Ask yourself, if you are not already a good friend of mine, why are you reading this entry right now? You don't know me. Perhaps that adorable photograph of a kitten sipping a Guinness caught your eye. Who knows. As far as I can measure, few will actually have any real interest in reading my random posts and confused ramblings. At times, I am quick to anger, and I have no doubt that I will find an outlet for that boundless rage through this blog in the months to come. And seeing that I am planning a wedding, this will undoubtedly be used for the occasional wedding-related musing. Whatever the reason, I'm glad to be here.

Well, where to begin? How about with some things I need to get off of my chest.

First, I am simply obsessed, in a very definite and potentially pathological way, with LOLCats.

I have a propensity to save all of the LOLCat photos that I am fond of to our computer, much to the chagrin of DF (I feel it's appropriate that, seeing as I am finally joining the ranks of the great unwashed, that I use Internet-speak to simplify my for the uninitiated, "DF" means "Dear Fiance")

I also have a habit of coveting items that I probably should not. Principally, very VERY expensive shoes. Like these:

Ahh, Gucci.


Let's see, what else can I tell you about myself? At the moment my method of funding my vices, shoe and otherwise, happens to be employment with LUSH Cosmetics. If you haven't heard of us, you should be ashamed of yourself. We make amazing products. You may have passed our shops in upscale malls and high streets in Europe; you probably sneezed upon doing so. We're the soap shop that looks like a green grocer. We specialize in being environmentally conscious, fresh, organic, free-range, fair-trade and cruelty-free. And unlike other cosmetics companies, those words mean something to us, beyond marketing slogans. I'd like it if you came to visit me sometime; I'm at the Somerset location.

Well, I suppose that's it for now. Next time, I'll expound on my newfound obsession with, and how I have a severe, chronic and terminal case of schadenfreude.