My Inspirations: Bianca Del Rio

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Who is Bianca Del Rio?

Bianca Del Rio is the winner of the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. A self-proclaimed “clown in a dress,” Bianca showed incredible talent while on-screen during the show. In her introduction on the show, Bianca describes herself as “an insult comic like Don Rickles, in a dress, and prettier and not as old.”

Bianca originated in New Orleans and became a premier entertainer there in 1998. She has also worked in New York, with Lady Bunny and designing costumes for broadway. She is incredibly talented and at the premier party for Drag Race she crafted and assembled an outfit onstage in less than 5 minutes.

How did I discover Bianca?

I have watched Drag Race for all 6 seasons, but in those 6 years Bianca has been the biggest standout Drag Queen in terms of inspiration to me. Bianca is what I call “the most fully realized human being I’ve ever witnessed.” Now, I understand that when Bianca is on TV, there’s a certain amount of editing that takes place and best sides are shown more often than not. With that being said, Bianca showed more emotional intelligence than most people I’ve met in my life.

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What about Bianca inspired me?

Bianca has shown great strength in terms of conscientiousness, which is one of the big five personality traits. Wikipedia defines this as “A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.” Bianca showed all of these traits throughout the season of Drag Race, but also shows this in her live performances as seen on YouTube. Insult comics need to have a competitive yet interactive relationship with their audience, which takes serious self-discipline and real passion for the art.

During the show, Bianca talked about how it’s weird for someone to go around always saying “I love you” to everyone they meet. I used to be one of those kinds of people, but hearing Bianca talk about why it doesn’t make sense to do that got me thinking about it. I’ve come to realize that you can throw around the phrase “I love you” all you want, but the more you make it common in your own vernacular, the less special it can become to the people you really mean it to when you say it. Since then, I have made a point of reserving this phrase for the people in my life who have earned the right to hear me say those words to them.

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Bianca also managed to balance her “angry, hateful, cunt” image while also becoming a mentor to the other competitors on the show. Specifically, Bianca was something of a mother/father figure to both Adore Delano and Trinity K Bonet – sharing a waist cincher with Adore and encouraging Trinity to break out of her shell. Bianca has talked about how she’s repeating the things that were said to her when she was starting out and growing/learning. Many things Bianca has said to her competitors that have helped them grow all echoed things that have been said to me throughout the years by various people. Hearing Bianca say these things on-screen helped solidify many of life’s lessons inside my head. In this sense, Bianca has really helped me to grow and become a stronger person.

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Specifically, in seeing Bianca on TV – from entering the workroom for the first time, through the demonstrations of expertly executed comedy, to the finely crafted costume work, I was given someone to look up to and strive to become. In final 4 months leading up to my cross-country move in 2014 from Wisconsin to Vermont, I endeavored to hold myself to as high of a standard as possible. This continued into my current job, and I express to both my bosses and teammates that I am always striving to be like Bianca Del Rio. In other words – I continue to strive to present myself as professionally and organized as Bianca.

Through the magic of YouTube I can see Bianca without the filter of national TV requirements. It is there that I can see just how strong of a character she is and how solid her comedic art is. In watching Bianca on YouTube, my takeaway is that I need to stay true to myself above everything else. Continuing to “do you” as my boss tells me, is what’s going to continue to take me to greater heights in life.

In short, Bianca has taught (or reminded) me:

  • To always hold myself to the highest possible standard.
  • To use language as one of my most powerful tools.
  • To combat more difficult times with the magic of comedy.
  • To take a mature, professional approach to my life endeavors at all times.

What does it mean to “Master One’s Craft?”

Many of my other blog posts link to this post for this reason. Bianca is the prime examples of the phrase, “mastering one’s craft” in my opinion. Ever since I started school, from Kindergarten all the up through my college years, the whole point was to find some skill or talent or interest, and constantly strive to perfect yourself in that aspect. In my eyes, Kai is the perfect Beyblader. Charlie Epps is the perfect mathematician. The Tie Guy executes perfect men’s fashion sense. Armin Van Buuren is the perfect DJ. Chad Michaels and Raja have perfect professionalism. So on, and so on, and so on.

I may not have found which craft I want to master, per se, but Bianca’s level as America’s Next Drag Superstar is a good guide to how much I want to master my own life.

Still taking in how amazing tonight has been. Thanks again, @thebiancadelrio!

A photo posted by Lukas Condie (@lukascondie) on Jan 22, 2015 at 9:40pm PST

Getting to meet Bianca was an experience of a lifetime. It was humbling to know that she took the time to read what I’ve written here, and that she enjoyed it. She added something that I’ve been working more into my life as well: Trust your instincts. They are there for a reason.

I’ve also come to notice that many things I’ve learned from Bianca have also been said about people of my age by Dr. Meg Jay, who has published a book and featured on TED talks.

Thank You, Bianca for being an inspiration to me!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

Breakthrough Moments

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One of the biggest things I enjoy about life is the moments we spend making ourselves better people. Sometimes these moments are small, other times they are massive. It’s the massive moments in our lives that we refer to as our “breakthroughs” and they can be very humanizing and humbling to experience.

I have gone through a series of these moments in my own life, and I look at life knowing that there are many more yet to come. On this blog, I have written about people and characters who I consider to be my inspirations, and two particular people who I’ve based much of myself on have had breakthrough moments that gave me real hope for life.

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Back when I was in high school, I modeled myself greatly after Kai Hiwatari. Kai had his (first) breakthrough moment in the first season of Beyblade in Episode 45: Breaking The Ice. It was there that Kai realized that his thirst for power had corrupted him to the point where he was isolated, and the people who called him friends proved their place in his life by defeating the source of his power-lust, a.k.a. Black Dranzer.

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Kai had an emotional breakdown on the middle of Lake Biakal in Russia, where he was defeated by his teammates-turned-friends, the Bladebreakers. Kai was so distraught by his loss of his old, power-hungry self, that he was willing to drown himself in the lake in shame. Thankfully, his friends reached out and pulled him out, saving his life. From then on, he knew to be grateful for their influence in his life.

Seeing this moment on TV lead to a moment I had in high school where I saw how important it is to have close friends who you can trust and lean on in good and bad times. Until I was 18, I considered myself a serious loner who didn’t want to have a circle of friends, but rather to be by myself – always growing and learning on my own. I had a select group of people who I considered myself to be close with, and didn’t want to expand on that. Seeing Kai open himself up to having people in his life inspired me to open my life up to having other people in it. To this day, as an introvert I still struggle with letting people in, but I have gotten much better at it.

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My next breakthrough came on June 17, 2006 – the day I officially came out of the closet. I had been fighting and struggling with myself about accepting who I am, and that was the day I got the courage to speak up about what was going on. Most people who knew me before that day and after could see the enormous difference it made. I was more outgoing, I was happier, I was free. For a good year or so, it felt like a birthday, since I’ve evolved so much as a person leading back from that beginning point.

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Breakthroughs aren’t always a happy experience, surrounded by love and friends and family. 2011 was the year of my most difficult breakthrough, and what I consider to this day to be the lowest point of my life. I had put all of my thoughts, attention, and effort into moving from UW – Parkside to the rustic city of Waupaca, Wisconsin. In particular, I fought as hard as I knew how to purchase the Red Mill of Waupaca, and live there. In the end, my efforts were in vain, and I allowed myself to fail out of college in my attempts to move to Waupaca. That dream began with the happy memories of childhood vacations, but for a long time that area (which was my very first “happy place”) was a reminder of how drastic of consequences failures can be.

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What made that breakthrough particularly painful is that I felt alone in my experience. I was dating someone who at the time was in the process of graduating college, nearly all of my friends were graduating, and here I was, failing out. I also had no person or character on TV to turn to to feel solace with, and go through the emotions with. While my boyfriend at the time was supportive, there was a sense of isolationism that I just couldn’t handle at the time.

Some time passed, and I found a television moment on a TV show I grew to love that I connected with on that moment. On the Third Season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, contestant Yara Sofia had made it to the final four where they competed with three different looks for the “Make Dat Money” Ball. Overwhelmed with emotion after being placed in the bottom two, Yara had a total meltdown onstage, disappearing into tears and pain of failure.

Watching that moment, my heart went out to her. I felt her emotions about losing a major dream and was able to finally process my own feelings about losing Waupaca. In the end, it goes to show that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” which is what I took to heart from the whole experience. Life moved on.

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2014 was a big positive for me. I was inspired by Bianca Del Rio (whose voice I still think in!) to pick up my life and go to a place where I could be a better person. I moved out of Wisconsin to Vermont, and began to journey to go back and finish college. I continue to aspire to be as strong of a person as I see Bianca to be in my mind.


With all of this being said, the bottom line is how important it is to have breakthroughs in one’s life. I got to thinking about how major of an impact these moments have as I was listening to early episodes of the podcast, What’s The Tee? The discussion arc of this concept began with Becoming The Observer of Your Mind, continued into the episode Personal Breakthroughs, and some final thoughts were discussed on It Gets Butter.

One of my views on life is how many things are cyclical. History has a reputation of repeating itself, and therefore I have auras that I have more breakthroughs coming in the next few years of my life. The ones I’ve had now have shaped so much of who I am and what in life I can handle, and I can only imagine the kind of growing and elevating I’ll be doing as the next years of my life come to pass.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Ally

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What is an Ally?

Ally is defined by Merriam-Webster as: to join (yourself) with another person, group, etc., in order to get or give support.

My experience with this term has been in the context of a “straight ally” or a person who identifies as cisgender and heterosexual but who supports the equal rights for anyone who doesn’t identify with both or either of those two terms.

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What makes me an Ally?

There are three main reasons why I call myself an Ally – first and foremost being that I prefer to be a friend with someone before any other titles or identities. Romantic relationships work better (in my opinion) when the two (or more) start out as friends, and build from that baseline. Friends are what define us, they are there for us in our best times, and in our worst times. Very often, it’s during the worst times that LGBTQ Allies are called on for support. I haven’t faced a large sum of stigma for being Gay, but in the times that I did my allies were always the first people to pick me back up.

Broadly speaking, my friends are my allies; they are my support circle that I turn to whenever anything happens in my life, positive or negative.

Second, I am willing to connect across boundaries. Within reason, of course. When I look at the world, I see many varied and diverse humans, and the more connected we can become with each other, the better. It’s one of my core beliefs as a Unitarian Universalist to listen to as many people’s life stories as I can, and learn from them. It’s very easy to become friends with someone whom you have plenty of things in common, but even more rewarding when you can be a friend and Ally to someone with whom you don’t share as much commonality. This is where personal labels are troubling, because there’s a ton of prejudice that comes with them. My best documented example of reaching out to someone who is very different from me, but we are sincere friends can be read about here.

Finally, I make a point to try and put other’s needs before my own. This one is also a complicated point, as I’ve been taken advantage of by this fact in the past, so there’s a balance here that needs to be achieved. The spectrum here ranges from picking up extra shifts at work to cover holes, to lending money and material things to friends in need, to letting people sleep on the couch in my living room, to giving life advice when asked.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Independent Progressive

I want to open this post with a video.

What is an independent?

As shown above, independent is quite an umbrella term. I want to start by talking about independent media, as discussed by David Pakman, who we all know I’m a huge fan of, as seen above.

I can relate to all of what David means when he says that corporate dollars have taken over what many refer to as “mainstream media.” David in particular now uses the term “corporate media” when describing outlets such as FOX, CNN, MSNBC, and others. I’ve noticed how money plays such a critical role in having something become mainstream or “go viral.” Like David’s commentary, I feel that media bought and paid for by corporations has become very fake and or biased, at least from a political perspective. I feel that because media funding is coming from big business, the media is being forced to put their company backers and their reputation before true reporting. Regardless of where I stand politically, I can’t really take in the vast majority of things I see on cable TV networks.

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The next issue David talks about is the difference between News Reporting, News Opinion, and Entertainment. Corporate media blurs the lines between all three of these. For the longest time, even I was blinded to the differences. I used to see the two political opinion show hosts I follow (David Pakman and Rachel Maddow) as political reporting, when in fact they are opinions and not strictly reports. And yes, Rachel Maddow is part of the corporate conglomerate that is MSNBC – I do see that. What I enjoy about Maddow is that her show (in my opinion)  falls on that blur between news opinion and entertainment.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine began working for a local news station that I watched regularly, that I started to understand what actual news reporting is. Of course, local news channels aren’t independent, they are franchises of their corporate versions, but for the most part, I feel they get much closer to actual reporting. Watching FOX 6 in Milwaukee is a different experience than watching the national Fox News network. Generally speaking, there’s not nearly as much effort to make local news pieces controversial. In my lifetime, I’ve noticed the subtle things that media will do to make events seem more controversial than they really are, in an effort to hook as many people as possible to them. I have been trying to train myself to speak objectively in as many situations as possible, and this blog will become virtual proof of that, assuming I ever get around to not talking about myself and my own life on here.

Another media platform that is sometimes overlooked is radio. While 40% of the world’s population has internet access, more people have access to an AM/FM radio, which is where the radio industry originates from. Now, many radio stations have obvious corporate backers, and independent radio stations have risen up. The David Pakman Show  started out as a radio program. RuPaul and Michelle Visage got their start in radio, which (in the long run) led to me finding other role models I identify with. This is part of why I get so excited about Podcasts, which I feel is my generations way of bringing radio back into the mainstream.

The bottom line is that I want my time and consumption dollars to be spent on media that’s not funded entirely by corporations that are using the media to further their own interests. In my opinion, corporations have large sums of capital that they can use “for the greater good” but in my experience, what the standard major company considers to be their interest doesn’t line up with my own interests. For example, ExxonMobil is a mega-corporation that historically has been among the worst for LGBTQ people to be employed at (example here). They only very recently relented and gave the tiniest recognition to their employees, and only because their hands were tied. With that in mind, I don’t want to be spending money that goes into the pockets of the executives who run their company by these kinds of principles, which of course boils down to the issues that I care about.

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With all of that being said, the biggest area that I see myself moving away from the mainstream is in politics. United States Politics, in my opinion (though there’s plenty of evidence to back this up!) are becoming very polarized and turning into an “us versus them” type of mentality. Again, I’m going to let David Pakman and his guest Peter Coleman start this discussion:

When I think of typical political terms like Democrat, Republican, Liberal, and Conservative, my brain defaults to what has become some very extreme examples. Because of that, I tend to have an immediate bias for or against something or someone as soon as one of these terms is used to describe them. I feel like this is a bad train of thought, because I begin to filter out and ignore pieces that I perceive that I won’t agree with, based simply on a single word. The same bias that many non-conservatives accuse Fox News of having I’ve displayed myself. This was wrong of me, I admit that.

It took discovering friends of mine who have different political affiliations for me to realize that using terms like this as umbrellas to encompass anyone who uses them is wrong. Considering that I refer to myself as an Ally first, and knowing that umbrella terms are problematic, one would think I would have realized this earlier than I did.

This is an older reference, but it’s a sign that political independence is a growing movement in the United States. The extreme form of this movement shines in secessionist groups. This listing (from a site based right here in Vermont!) points out that there are plenty of people in the United States that are seriously trying to make states secession happen again. While the concept of a secession is too extreme for me, I am growing frustrated that terms like “Democrat” and “Republican” conjure up corporate sponsorships and massive money being spent on politics, with money seemingly drowning out people’s voices.

What is a progressive?

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I use the term Progressive to describe my political orientation, because I feel like it paints a simpler image than the term Liberal, which is very similar. At the end of the day I use this word both because of where I stand on today’s political issues, and based on which issues are important to me.

I use the above banner somewhat ironically, since I’m not officially affiliated with them, but rather just entered into Google the name of my state and the world Progressive. But, there you have it – there are enough people in Vermont who use the same political identity as me that they have organized themselves together. It’s complicated to explain my identity as a progressive without going into detail about issues I care about, so that’s my next step.

What issues are important to me?

As I continue to expand my blog, each of these bullet points will eventually link to full posts explaining my stances.

  • Queer Equality, specifically
    • Marriage Equality & Recognition
    • Parenting & Adoption
    • Workplace Equality
    • Transgender Equality in the above three categories
  • Feminism
  • Environmentalism & Climate Change
  • Moving away from the political binary (Robyn Ochs gets credit for me recognizing life binaries)

I am in the process of educating myself of the following issues, and as I do they are becoming more important to me:

  • Marijuana Prohibition
  • Gun Ownership
  • Capital Punishment
  • Economic Policy
  • Vaccines

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this post as I learn and experience new things in life.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Apple Enthusiast

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This is a more direct and obvious aspect to me, as the above image was my primary online avatar for over a year.

I’m not going to open this one with a talk about what Apple is, because let’s be real: everyone knows what Apple, Inc. is.

My first exposure to Apple products was in 1998 during a summer computer camp called Kids Byte at Marquette University. There were brightly colored Mac Computers that we would use to design movies, and we would use Apple software to film and edit our own videos. Considering that I was in Middle School at the time, I had no idea how much Apple products would become a staple in my life a decade and a half later.

My next exposure to Apple computers and products was at my first college, where the theater majors were very Apple savvy, to the point where non-Apple things were snubbed. I had just transition my music library into iTunes, but didn’t quite realize that it was an Apple thing, since I was doing it on my Windows Laptop.

2012 & 2013 were my “conversion” years to Apple as a tech company. I refused to get an iPhone until it could hold all of the music in my library (which was about 35 GB at the time) so it took until the iPhone 4S before I tried it out. I fell in love, and transitioned to a Macbook when my old laptop’s hard disk failed, and I lost nearly everything I had saved electronically at the time.

Since changing over, I have a much better organization to my electronic life, particularly my music library. Not that I ever expect for my Macbook to fail, but if it ever does I’m far, far better prepared to handle it than when my laptop’s crash permanently destroyed 99% of everything I’ve worked on electronically up to that point.

2014 brought my getting Apple TV, which had a major impact on my Netflix viewing habits, my ability to watch the video version of David Pakman, all of my video podcasts, and thus changed my TV habits for the better. I also switched back to iPhone, having done a brief stint with a Samsung Galaxy S4 when iOS 7 came out and before I understood how to use it properly.

Another thing about how much Apple has been an influence on me: Apple’s podcast suggestions led me to discovering both David Pakman and Armin Van Buuren, both of whom I’ve written about on here.

This article gives a nice slideshow about different tech products that Apple introduced to the world that created a sea change in the tech industry.

Here and here are examples of how Apple is also working on becoming a force for positive change in the environment. While Apple is nowhere near perfect in terms of harming the environment, the fact that the company is working to leave less of a footprint on the planet is something that the environmentalist in me agrees with.

Speaking of progressive and liberal politics, it’s been discussed that using Apple products can be a sign of political leaning as well. The implied political leaning has proven to be true in my case, even though my usage of Apple products has had zero impact on my political beliefs. Instead, my political beliefs have played a very tiny role in convincing me to use Apple products.

This is a famous infographic describing a “Mac” person versus a “PC” person:

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Click on it for a larger version if you need one. Many things mentioned in the graphic resonate with me.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Wanderluster

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What is a Wanderluster?

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is defined as what the above image says: a strong desire to travel and explore the world. In sociology, wanderlust is defined more specifically by someone who is wanting to have more cultural experiences, instead of merely wandering and traveling to relax.

The above picture leads to a wanderluster who is blogging about her life traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures. I only just recently discovered her, but her blog is very addicting and resonates strongly with me, since I long to experience many of the things she’s been seeing.

How am I a Wanderluster?

My wanderlust began as “sunlust” in my childhood, when I would go with my family on vacation to other states and different parts of my home state. This was more for the relaxing time spent, instead of trying to have cultural experiences. However, it planted some thoughts in my head to make me want to learn about other lives and experiences. The Red Mill of Waupaca, Wisconsin started my interest in learning about history and what came before me. Visiting relatives in South Carolina, Florida, and Washington State all showed me that there is so much in this country that exists outside of the house I was growing up in.

My next big travel opportunity came in 2008 when the Rainbow Alliance that I was a part of at my first college would travel to a regional conference in February. The MBLGTAC Conference was always held at a major university, so while on one level it was showing me different campuses that I didn’t have the passion to reach out to earlier in life, it also showed me different cultures even in the same region of the country that I had known for two decades. That conference has brought me to:

  • Champlain-Urbana, IL (2008)
  • Bloomington, IN (2009)
  • Madison, WI (2010)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (2011)
  • Ames, IA (2012)
  • East Lansing, MI (2013)
  • Kansas City, MO (2014)

The last conference I went to was close enough to Kansas that I crossed the border and very briefly got to see Topeka, KS. Each new city brought a different perspective to me about my own life, and new experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy otherwise.

One particular conference experience had me cross through the city of Gary, IN. I had first heard about this city while watching a college production of The Music Man, in which one of the songs is about the city. I had done a little bit of research before I passed through, originally getting excited over the fact that the city was a theater reference for me, but eventually it became more about the possibility of a paranormal experience, which I also have something of a passion for. The feelings I had while just driving through some neighborhoods, and the emotions that I felt while quickly taking in the abandoned downtown main street were enough of a moving experience that I’ve always wanted to go back and see the city at night.

This interest continued to build and finally culminated in my permanent move from Wisconsin to Vermont. At it’s core, Vermont is a beautiful state, with so much to see and explore in a tiny amount of space.

As I continue to live in Vermont, my interest in finding new places to see continues to build. I have a New Hampshire trip, a Boston trip, and a Maine trip all in the works, and I presume I’ll have seen all three before 2015’s end.

The most famous fictional traveler I know, The Doctor, has been the solid rock that keeps my wanderlust growing. The 10th Doctor is whom I consider to be “my Doctor” (just take a good look at my Tumblr for all the David Tennant examples!) because he’s the one I would want to travel with and learn about life and the universe from. The TARDIS (time machine that travels in space) stands as my primary avatar partially as a symbol of my continued interest in wanting to go out and explore more that the world has to offer.

The 11th Doctor is my second favorite, because my own personality resembles his. I also love Matt Smith for his role in the film, Christopher and His Kind.

What places do I want to explore, and why?

I have an old, physical diary with a few pages of places I want to explore. On the first page, I’ve listed that in each “place to explore” I wanted to see:

  • A famous “attraction”
  • A theatrical production
  • A Nightclub
  • A local dining establishment
  • A local coffee shop
  • Any local, notable Snopesters that I’ve connected with
  • The local Equality group office

This reflects on my personal interests in addition to the broad concepts of travel for cultural sake.

Just for the sake of including it, here’s my current working “Places To Wander To” List:

  1. New York, NY (Having been here on a high school trip, I want to see this city through my more mature eyes and brain)
  2. Pittsburgh, PA (The setting for the US version of Queer As Folk)
  3. Boston, MA (So much of New England history has happened here. This is second on my list of places to move to after Vermont, if I were ever to leave)
  4. Portland, OR (If I ever leave Vermont, this is at the top of my list of places to move to at this point in time)
  5. Seattle, WA (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  6. Miami, FL (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  7. Myrtle Beach, SC (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  8. Houston, TX (Near the setting for one of my favorite TV series, Reba)
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. San Fransisco, CA (I’m stereotyping here, but this would be something of a pilgrimage for me)
  11. Palo Alto, CA (So much of technology is born here)
  12. Laramie, WY (To physically see the town made famous by a play, which they rightfully feel doesn’t represent them)
  13. Minneapolis, MN (This is supposedly like a sister to Madison, WI)
  14. Denver, CO (Originally wanted to see this because it was “near South Park” but now there’s so much more there)
  15. Salt Lake City, UT (I feel this is the place in Utah I would enjoy the most)
  16. Phoenix, AZ (I’ve been told that Pridefest here is the best in the country)
  17. Escanaba, MI (From my love for the stage play trilogy, beginning with Escanaba in da Moonlight)
  18. Atlanta, GA (Like Salt Lake City, I feel this would be a good place to start seeing Georgia)
  19. Las Vegas, NV (One of the settings for my favorite show in high school, Beyblade)
  20. Hong Kong (Same as above)
  21. Beijing
  22. Kyoto (This is the city where some of the central characters in the Beyblade anime are based on)
  23. Tokyo (Having been so into anime culture at one point in my life, I feel this is a given)
  24. London (I went here before I was able to immerse myself in so many British things. I want to go back, but as a Whovian)
  25. Paris (In addiction to being more aware of French culture nowadays, this was also a brief setting for Beyblade)
  26. Rome (Having worked for a self-proclaimed Italian restaurant, and this being a brief setting for Beyblade)
  27. Berlin (Both a few episodes of Beyblade, and my absolute favorite stage musical, Cabaret took place here)
  28. Moscow (One of the best Beyblade story arcs took place here)
  29. Mongolia
  30. The Amazon Rainforest (I was obsessed with the game Amazon Trail for nearly a whole decade, this is another given)
  31. Czech Republic (As part of my own heritage, I want to see this country)
  32. Copenhagen, Denmark (Also part of my heritage, if I ever decide to emigrate from the US, this would be at the top of my list of choices)
  33. Scotland (Another valued part of my heritage)
  34. Ibiza, Spain (One of the hottest Nightclub spots in the world)

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Homemaker

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What is a Homemaker?

A homemaker is a person whose main job is to stay at home and care for the household and/or children. Wikipedia once again sums up the definition and gives great examples.

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How am I a Homemaker?

The absolute core and first reason why I identify with this term is that my number one goal in life is to be a husband and father. I would honestly be happier unemployed but happily married and with my children in my life, as opposed to single but in a time-consuming career.

I have always been very domesticated, beginning from in my childhood when I insisted on joining my mother on her weekly trips to the grocery store. In fact, one of the main ways I relieve stress is by going into a local grocer and just browsing around the isles looking for things to have at my apartment or house.

Virtually all of my career up to this point has involved some major aspect of home life. Working in a restaurant has grown my interest in learning to cook for myself, and using proper methods and styles to improve my own meals. I didn’t work in the kitchen, but I did get to observe many different ways that a kitchen is run.

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Working in maid service taught me the gravity of consistent effort it takes to keep a house clean and put together. Everyone has a wildly different definition of what they consider to be a “clean home” and mine has been shaped by learning several different people’s definitions. I’ve taken the time to learn about different cleaning products and techniques, and many people in my life have asked if I’d be willing to come in and clean for them, since my passion for cleaning also stems from my childhood. While being the Stage Manager for my high school Drama Club, I would often find myself cleaning up backstage and organizing things, two qualities that I consider to be my greatest strengths.

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My time in maid service also launched a new interest for me: home decor and design. I’ve seen (what feels like) hundreds of different styles and ways to arrange and fill one’s home. I went into a deep discussion with a former roommate of mine about how a home should be decorated, as I’ve been told my bedroom has “looked like a college dorm room.” It wasn’t until long after that talk did I see for myself exactly what they meant. At the time, I was still mentally a sophomore in college, and my bedroom walls reflected my own maturity. It was when I started seeing how people arranged their personal spaces and what they felt was important enough to frame and put on their walls that I started to have an adult concept of professional home decor and design.

On a broader scale, the concept of homemaker is also evolving. Until very recently, a homemaker was generally overwhelmingly female, and the term househusband was a joke made to show how gendering homemaker to housewife was silly. It’s a reflection on culture as a whole that “stay-at-home-dads” are becoming more of a thing these days. This NYT opinion column even claims that househusbands are the future. Michelle Visage has mentioned on the podcast, What’s The Tee?, that she is happily married to a househusband. This Slate article gives one man’s experience on being a househusband, much of which resonated with me.

The other part of the term homemaker that I really like is the gender discussion that comes with it. I feel like the sexism of the pre-70’s is already well discussed – in my opinion women should choose what they want to do with their lives, no matter if that’s a career or staying at home. This belief is one my my values as a feminist. The gender discussion that homemaker hits me with is the social constructs that come with it.

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The above image leads to the article where it came from. One of the key things this image portrays is of course, a man in a dress. Much of my experience with men in dresses comes from Drag Queens, particularly one who uses that phrase to describe themself. I am not a drag queen, nor do I plan to ever be one, but the concept of being referred to as “mommy” or “mama” is actually something I’m quite comfortable with. I am very comfortable in my cisgender identity, but this particular piece is the bit of gender fluidity in me, which tends to surprise the people that I share this with, since I haven’t met even a handful of men who are househusbands.

Here’s another article from Slate on homemaking. This is related to the gender discussion in homemaking.

Urban Dictionary’s definition mentions male homemakers being as “the lowest of masculinity.” While there are parts of me that I feel are important to be masculine, this is the part of me that cares the least about masculinity. As I’ve said, I’m not the least bit bothered by not appearing to be masculine in wanting a husband and kids that are my primary responsibility. Understanding how much of a threat this can irrationally be to other men, and still sticking with it is one of the personal traits I am the most proud of.

And in the off-chance I ever were to walk a runway in drag, I’d most likely have a kitchen apron on over my dress.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Stage Manager

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What is a Stage Manager?

Taken right from Wikipedia, which sums it up very nicely:

Stage management is the practice of organizing and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organizing the production and coordinating communications between various personnel (e.g., between director and backstage crew, or actors and production management). Stage management is a sub-discipline of stagecraft. Stage managers may use a Stage Manager’s book to help organize the production.

A stage manager is one who has overall responsibility for stage management and the smooth execution of a production. Stage management may be performed by an individual in small productions, while larger productions typically employ a stage management team consisting of a head stage manager, or “Production Stage Manager”, and one or more assistant stage managers.

How Am I A Stage Manager?

I have been applying the label of Stage Manager to myself since 2004, since I was given that title in my high school drama club. I grew more into that role during my years at UW – Parkside and Sunset Playhouse, and since have found that that title applies to so much more outside of the theater world.

The Stage Manager’s job begins by going through the script and throughly researching every line, stage direction, and footnote that they are going to need to understand and run during the course of the show. This step comes in before they even get to the first production meeting or rehearsal. I look at life as very scripted, since many life events are predictable (in my eyes), such as when I’m going to be in school, when I’ll be at work, when specific television shows come on, when certain movies come out, so on and so forth. I’ve arranged my own music library on this concept – that one can predict one’s own life:

From there, the Stage Manager organizes their “Promptbook” or binder with all the information related to the show they are working on, which acts as a living bible for the production. I do this with the different aspects of my personal life. I have a binder with all the paperwork related to my car, I have a binder with all the paperwork related to my health, I have a binder with all the paperwork related to my finances, ect.

From an electronic perspective, I look at my cloud storages such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, etc as my e-Promptbooks, with any notes I find on the internet or want to save in my everyday thoughts organized on there.

The Stage Manager monitors their cast during the rehearsal and production process, and I feel the same way about my own circle of friends. I tend to identify as the “mother” of my own groups.

During the performance, the stage manager is “calling” the cues, be they lights, sounds, special effects, and many other types. In other words, they are orchestrating everything is going on using language on headsets connected throughout the performance space. I see life events, online posts, and life moments as my own cues that my mind is orchestrating around me. This is the core of my belief in the phrase “Everything happens for a reason.”

Finally, after the performances are over, it’s the stage manager’s last job to coordinate “strike” or the takedown of the production. I find myself in various settings that are similar to this, such as the closing shift in a restaurant, or moving from one place to another. The more I go through these processes, I better I am able to create closure on my life events, and process them better mentally and emotionally.

At the end of the day, I identify as a stage manager because it accurately sums up how I view my life on a day-to-day level.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie