Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disturbia: Rihanna & Chris Brown

Above: Rihanna after she was physicllly assaulted by Chris Brown.

The Rihanna and Chris Brown incident happened about a month ago now - I haven't posted anything about it - the whole incident made me very angry and I was curious how the incident would play out. I feel like I can comment on this issue for a number of reasons:

1. I am a huge fan of Rihanna, I think she is the modern day Madonna, her music is fun, unique and I love her image and unique sense of style. Rihanna already has five number one singles under her umbrella and she is only 21 years old.

2. I am also a fan of Chris Brown's music, he is a very talented artist, can dance his ass off and his music is a positive change to the negative and degrading r&b/rap that we have heard in he past. He has an amazing year in 2008 and was labeled by Billboard magazine as artist of the year ( ironically Rihanna was the #2 artist of 2008).

3. I was in an abusive relationship for many years and the issue of domestic violence really hits home to me on many levels.

Above: Me when I got involved in my first relationship.

This issue with Rihanna brought me back to when I was young, naive and in love. My first love was someone much older than me and I thought he was the best thing ever inside and out. I remember the first physical incident that had happened to me when I was with "Danny." I was sixteen years old and living with "Danny" and attending high school at the time. We had been together for several months now, our apartment was a 15 minute walk from my school. A male friend of mine, that I had known since elementary school, saw me walking and asked me if I wanted a ride, I accepted. He dropped me off in front of my apartment, but before I went upstairs I chatted outside the car with my friend. When I finished chatting I went upstairs and I saw "Danny" sitting on the couch very silent and starring at the wall. I didn't pay too much attention to it and started to take my school books out of my backpack to do my homework.

I heard "Danny" ask me who the guy was that dropped me off and I didn't think much of it and said " Just a guy friend." The next thing I knew, Danny grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and picked me up in the air. I remember my feet were dangling in the air and I was in shock at what was going on. Danny said to me "Don't you ever let me catch you with a another guy in a car again!" and he threw me into the corner of the living room into a hanging shelf. My body hit the shelf and wall and I crumbled to the ground. I couldn't believe what was happening, this wasn't "Danny." I started to get up from the ground and as I did I said to him "What the hell do you think you're doing!" He came to me all wild eyed grabbed my homework paper I was working on and shoved it into my mouth saying "Don't you EVER raise your voice to me again!" and continued to shove the paper down my throat.

I was crying as I spit the pieces of paper out of my mouth. I was in shock and still a bit out of breath from being thrown against the wall. That night when he fell asleep, I left the apartment and walked to my mothers house. I knew I could climb through the window of my old bedroom - I had only been away from the home that I grew up in for about 5 months. I crawled into the window and my room was still pretty close to how I had left it. I locked the window once I was inside and I crawled under the covers and cried myself to sleep.

After that incident, I snuck into my mom's house from time to time, since I really wasn't welcomed there since I came out about my sexuality, and I stayed at friends houses until Danny was waiting for me after school one day with gifts and saying how sorry he was and how much he loved me and how he would never hurt me again. I believed him.....that relationship latest 10 years...10 years of living in an abusive relationship feeling I was not good enough for anything better, believing that the man I loved would never hurt me again, believing he would change, believing the abuse would end. It never did...it ended with me almost dead. The pictures below are of me from 2000, the year I left "Danny" - these pictures were taken one week after I was brutally beaten, these photos are after one full week of healing.

Above: I am glad I still have this photo - reminds me how thankful I am I got out of a terrible situation.
This photo was a week after I was brutally beaten.

So, back to Rihanna -- as Oprah said "HE WILL HIT YOU AGAIN!" I have no doubt about it. I really hope she takes this incident and turn it into something she can educate young adults on. This is a serious issue in society and it needs to be addressed. I mean it's still a huge issue with women being abused maybe someday people will take awareness that it does happen in gay relationships as well.

Above: This photo shows the back of my head, notice the right side of my head in back of my ear how swollen it is. I have permanent hearing damage in my right ear.

So to all the Rihanna's (female and male) out there that think they are stuck and have no way out of an abusive relationship - there's hope - I am celebrating my 8th year of being out of an abusive relationship and have been in a happy, healthy and loving relationship for 4 1/2 years now. There is hope, help and no one - NO ONE - deserves to be beaten or hit in a relationship of any kind. No excuses.


Above: Best Sushi place in San Francisco, Warakabune.

I never had Sushi until I moved to San Francisco - I was always scared of it. When I moved to SF, Paul was hooked on Sushi so I decided to try it. Paul tried to get me to eat these massive pieces of raw fish and I gagged - I couldn't do it -- then I discovered "Sushi" - the items on the menu that are cooked or all vegetables and I loved it!:-)

Another person who shares the same passion for"Sushi" as I does is Zach. No most 5 year olds would run away at the sight of Sushi -- can you imagine a young Paul Johnson eating Sushi - I think not! Carrie takes Zach to eat Sushi from time to time and so does Paul and I. He loves it. We recently took him to our favorite Sushi place in SF - Warakabune where you sit at the Sushi bar and watch the boats of Sushi travel around the bar and you grab the tiny Sushi plates you like.

Above: Giving the camera his Sushi eye.

Check out Zach eating at the Sushi bar - photos are a bit blurry taken with my iPhone. Also, check out the Sushi Zach made himself in school! Pretty creative huh!?

Above: Zach made a sushi roll out of foam and paper.

Above: Dipping the sushi...

...going in for he kill...


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letty Lynton 1932

Above: Letty Lynton hangs proudly in our dining room.

I am super excited to finally frame my original
Letty Lynton movie poster from 1932. This is such a rare poster as is the film. This movie poster is from Sweden and it was never displayed - it was kept in a tube for years and years never to see the light of day. I purchased it last year and was shocked at the pristine condition of this movie poster that is 75 years old! The color is still as vibrant and rich as it was when it was first printed, there are no folds, tears or holes in this poster -- it's so rare to find a movie poster this old in this condition.

Letty Lynton is probably in my top ten favorite movies of all time. It was a huge hit in 1932 and it spawned one of the biggest fashion crazes ever to hit Hollywood. It really was the first time a clothing designer (Adrian) and female star (Joan Crawford) combined together as a team to crack out outfits that woman from all over the world wanted to wear. The film sadly was sued for copyright infringement in 1938 and was pulled from circulation. The film has never been available to the general public, but the film has survived and rumor has it -- its been preserved and waiting for the expiration of the copyright - which is in 2012. I hope this movie sees the proper attention it deserves and people can see what a great film it was and is.

Above: Joan Crawford, at he peak of her beauty, pictured in a publicity photo from the film Letty Lynton.

Joan Crawford said -"If there ever was a retrospective on my film career (Letty Lynton) is the the film I want them to show.

Above: Matt and Matt conversing over a Hurrell photo of Joan! HA!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Above: Me and my girl Shannon!

This past week I celebrated my 35th year in this world -- I have to say this was on of my best birthdays and I love the sound of 35 years old!:-) So far, the 30s have been the best years of my life and I am really looking forward to this coming year. My birthday was on the 26th and Paul, Ryan and Zach had a great b-day surprise for me when I got home from work! There was a huge Happy Birthday sign in the living room, my favorite Chinese take-out, yummy cake and very generous gifts! It was great. I honestly don't feel 35 - I am not even sure what 35 feels like, but we were all talking about what it will be like when Zach is 35 and I said, "Oh I will be 65 when Zach is 35"...ummm I am not going to rush that birthday:-)

Above: Paul, Me and Zach ringing in 35!

Above: Zach looking cute as ever.

Above: Ryan, Me and Zach - getting ready to dig into that cake!

Above: Where's the ice cream!?

Last night, we had our first party in our new home. It was a birthday/housewarming party and we had a ton of new and old friends at the party. Fun was had by all! Thanks everyone for the cards, gifts and well-wishes!

Above: Matt, Mark, Paul & Ryan at the house party.

Above: Aldolfo, Me, Kyser and Ryan enjoying a few drinks.

Above: Joe and Paul, Joe is hoarding all the beer!

Above: Darrin, Jason, Cody, Jay and Me laxin' on the couch.

Above: Aldolfo, Troy and Paul.

Above: Paul and Michael all smiles.

Above: PARTY!