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 great 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.

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As I continue to live in Vermont, my interest in finding new places to see continues to build. I have a Manchester, New Hampshire trip, a Portland, Maine trip, a Hartford, Connecticut, and a Providence, Rhode Island trip all in the works, and I presume I’ll have seen all four before 2017’s end.

The most famous fictional traveler I know, The Doctor, has been the solid rock that keeps my wanderlust growing. His TARDIS (a time machine that travels in space) stood as my primary avatar as a symbol of my continued interest in wanting to go out and explore more that the world has to offer.

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

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. Also big Massachusetts place.)
  4. Portland, OR (For a while I wanted to move here.)
  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. I’m also very strongly considering moving here.)
  9. Austin, TX (Another good representation of Texas.)
  10. Los Angeles, CA
  11. San Fransisco, CA (I’m stereotyping here, but this would be something of a pilgrimage for me)
  12. Palo Alto, CA (So much of technology is born here)
  13. Laramie, WY (To physically see the town made famous by a play, which they rightfully feel doesn’t represent them)
  14. Minneapolis, MN (This is supposedly like a sister to Madison, WI)
  15. Denver, CO (Originally wanted to see this because it was “near South Park” but now there’s so much more there)
  16. Salt Lake City, UT (I feel this is the place in Utah I would enjoy the most)
  17. Phoenix, AZ (I’ve been told that Pridefest here is the best in the country)
  18. Escanaba, MI (From my love for the stage play trilogy, beginning with Escanaba in da Moonlight)
  19. Atlanta, GA (Like Salt Lake City, I feel this would be a good place to start seeing Georgia)
  20. Las Vegas, NV (One of the settings for my favorite show in high school, Beyblade)
  21. Hong Kong (Same as above)
  22. Beijing
  23. Kyoto (This is the city where some of the central characters in the Beyblade anime are based on)
  24. Tokyo (Having been so into anime culture at one point in my life, I feel this is a given)
  25. 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)
  26. Paris (In addiction to being more aware of French culture nowadays, this was also a brief setting for Beyblade)
  27. Rome (Having worked for a self-proclaimed Italian restaurant, and this being a brief setting for Beyblade)
  28. Berlin (Both a few episodes of Beyblade, and my absolute favorite stage musical, Cabaret took place here)
  29. Moscow (One of the best Beyblade story arcs took place here)
  30. Mongolia
  31. The Amazon Rainforest (I was obsessed with the game Amazon Trail for nearly a whole decade, this is another given)
  32. Czech Republic (As part of my own heritage, I want to see this country)
  33. 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)
  34. Scotland (Another valued part of my heritage)
  35. Ibiza, Spain (One of the hottest Nightclub spots in the world)

Added In December 2016: Now that I’ve been working in the hotel industry for two major hotel chains and multiple properties, I can say that working in hotels has taught me the skills and given me the tools to make traveling easier and more accessible to me. The “industry” likes to refer to itself as “hospitality” but I prefer to think of the term, “Travel Industry.”

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

What Makes Me A Slytherin

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What is a Slytherin?

Slytherin is one of the four houses in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from the famous Harry Potter book series. Most of the characters in the book spend their school days at Hogwarts, and are sorted into one of the four houses based on their personalities. The other three houses are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw.

Each house has specific qualities that represent it. It is generally accepted that Slytherins are known for Traditionalism, Resourcefulness, Cunning, Ambition, Self-Preservation, Determination, Cleverness, Fraternity, & Power. I have personally found that Slytherins tend to become the great managers of the world, in mirror to how Gryffindors tend to become the great leaders of the world.

To quote from HP-Lexicon (the #1 Harry Potter Database on the internet!):

While many readers seem to wish that Slytherin House could be banished from Hogwarts, the fact is that Harry could not have defeated the Dark Lord without the help of Slytherin members. Snape taught him the Disarming Charm which became Harry’s “signature move” as Lupin put it, and the only spell that ever worked against Voldemort, undoubtedly saving his life in the graveyard. Snape also gave him the tip about the bezoar which saved Ron’s life, the Half-Blood Prince potions book which finally made him successful in Potions so he could become an Auror, the silver doe which led him to the real Sword of Gryffindor, and the memories of his mother Lily which gave him the understanding and willingness to sacrifice himself to defeat Voldemort. But other Slytherins were just as important – Slughorn for his memory about the horcruxes, Regulus for stealing Slytherin’s locket, Narcissa for her bold lie to Voldemort which brought Harry back to the castle, Crabbe for the Fiendfyre which destroyed the diadem of Ravenclaw, and even Slytherin himself for the basilisk fangs that destroyed Tom Riddle’s diary and the Hufflepuff cup. Finally there is Draco, Harry’s nemesis for most of the series. Through Draco, someone he knew well, Harry began to humanize the Death Eaters and realize how trapped some of them were in their predicament with the Dark Lord. And it was only by wrestling away Draco’s hawthorn wand that Harry could become Master of Death. He used Draco’s wand to kill Voldemort, and also to receive complete allegiance of the Elder Wand.

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How Am I A Slytherin?

While each person can only be sorted into one house, there are many people in this fandom (most commonly found on the game, Pottermore) that identify with more than one house, since they exhibit qualities from multiple houses. Technically, I am 51% Slytherin, 35% Hufflepuff, 10% Ravenclaw, and 4% Gryffindor. Here are the (generally accepted) base personality traits for each house:

  • Gryffindor: Bravery, Nerve, Chivalry, Courage, Daring, Strong of Will
  • Hufflepuff: Dedication, Hard Work, Fair Play, Patience, Kindness, Tolerance, Unafraid of Toil
  • Raveclaw: Intelligence, Wit, Wisdom, Creativity, Originality, Individuality, Acceptance

I believe myself to exhibit every one of the qualities described above for Hufflepuff (and I’m commonly mistaken for being a Hufflepuff!), but my Slytherin qualities outweigh my Hufflepuff ones just enough to tip the scales to land me in Slytherin. I feel I have wisdom (many people come to me for advice), individuality (read any bio I wrote about myself), and ability to accept anyone for who they are as my Ravenclaw traits, and just enough of a hint of strong willpower, which is one of the very few Gryffindor traits I have.

This post goes into extensive detail about each of the personality traits in all four houses, based on the Pottermore sorting quiz that each game player takes to start the game.

With all of that being said, the first images people usually think of when they hear or see Slytherin tend towards: Voldemort, The Malfoy Family, Bellatrix Lestrange, Severeus Snape, and Salazar Slytherin himself. I do not identify with any of these characters, no do I feel I even somewhat resemble any of them. Instead, I represent the less remembered Slytherins, particularly Horace Slughorn.

S_finalEach house has it’s stereotype, and the Slytherin one is a very mean-spirited, almost angry person who would kill anyone who gets in their way. Slytherins unfairly tend to be associated with negative things. Each house has more than one counter-example to this, and Slughorn is a Slytherin counter-stereotype.

In conclusion, I am a Slytherin because my ambition, resourcefulness, and determination are core qualities to me, and as Slytherin qualities, they bring me to my identity as a Slytherin.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Megan Reeves

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Who is Megan Reeves?

Megan Reeves is fictional profiler working for the FBI on the TV series, Numb3rs. She is played by the actress, Diane Farr. Megan Reeves’ position on the FBI investigating team is to understand why the criminal would commit the crime that they did, and discover how to find or combat or stop them.

Megan is very grounded and logical, but also open to new ideas, as she shows during the times when Charlie provides mathematical support for the investigation.

She reveals over the course of the series (of which she was in seasons 2-4 out of 6), that she left her family when she was 16, though she doesn’t regret her decision to do so. She develops a romantic relationship with Larry, who is a teacher and co-worker to Charlie.

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How does Megan inspire me?

Megan Reeves was the first person/character to first convince me to take the field of psychology seriously. I’ve had more than one friend who is studying in the field, but before I met any of them, Megan was the one who showed me that knowing about psychology can make a life and death difference in many people. For a brief time, I even considered studying psychology myself in order to gain Megan’s ability to analyze people and use that skill to help other people.

The biggest and broadest lesson I take from Megan is the ability to understand and relate to other people. Her character explains many of her techniques while on the job, and I practice as many of them as I can, every single day. I have been working on the skill of “walking a mile in other people’s moccasins” (a Sabrina episode reference!) as a way to understand different people and different ways of life, which I feel is the core of my identity as an ally and a friend. No matter who I come across, no matter how long they are in my life, I make a point of trying to understand how they see the world from their perspective. This includes the Voldemorts of my time, such as Tony Perkins or Bryan Fisher or Linda Harvey. As much as I disagree with their opinion (and will fight to stop their reign of terror on the country), I respect their right to have that opinion and thought process.

This leads me into the final takeaway I have from Megan Reeves. She fights for what is right, to the best of her ability as an agent for the FBI. I have been able to relate to the concept of “fight for what is right” since I was a very young child. From the Power Rangers (who fought to defend the earth), to the Bladebreakers (who battled the Demolition Boys to save the world), to the Doctor (who fights albeit peacefully to save all types of planets and species), I strive to fight for what I believe in.

Thanks Megan, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Armin Van Buuren

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Who is Armin Van Buuren?

Armin Van Buuren is a music producer and DJ, best known for playing uplifting and progressive trance. He hosts a weekly show, A State Of Trance, which is available on his website and Spotify. His show reaches over 20 million fans in 26 countries.

Armin is one of the most successful DJ’s in the world, having earned the number one title on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJ’s for five years in a row. He is one of only four trance artists to ever have been nominated for a grammy award for best dance recording.

Armin has released five albums of his own music, the first being released in 2003 and the most recent in 2013. Each album has been progressively more successful; his third album entered the charts at #1, and his latest album is widely known and recognized in more than just dance music communities.

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How did I discover Armin?

Much like David Pakman, I discovered Armin through the iTunes podcast suggestions. His show, which is normally about 2-2 1/2 hours is condensed each week to a 20 minute segment that’s shared on iTunes. I’ve had a growing interest in serious dance music since watching Brian feel the beat in Babylon on Queer As Folk. Armin, though his show, has shown me the real definition of Trance Music, and what makes a Trance Song beautiful.

I also know Armin through several of the albums produced by his record label, Armada Music. Armada Music has it’s own podcast, and several imprint labels. One of the series that Armada Music produces is “50 Trance Tunes” which has released 35 compilation albums to date. I found the series on iTunes when the 9th compilation had been released and have been listening ever since.

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How does Armin inspire me?

Music is one of the most important things in my life. My music library is more valuable than anything else I own (in my opinion), and it’s the heart of why I insist on having a 128 GB iPhone – so I can put each and every song (Over 7,750 songs!) right at my fingertips. Armin is a master of his craft: music.

To me, Armin’s music is art. It invokes nearly every different kind of emotion I’m capable of feeling, it can both energize me, it can calm and soothe me, it can keep me focused, and so much more. For anyone to create something that can conjure so much from me, and move me so strongly, that’s the true essence of an artist.

Another aspect I like about Armin is that he is the center of his universe. He’s won several awards, is a household name when it comes to dance music, and is the one spinning the music at the famed land of Ibiza that Brian references in QAF, and plenty of others refer to as “the ultimate party destination.” Armin is the root of why I see Ibiza as a vacation world that I one day hope to visit.

Another one of Armin’s strengths: he’s well connected. Between his show and his music label, he knows just about anyone who’s had an interest in creating any type of trance or dance music in their life. He has featured hundreds (if not thousands) of different artists on his show, and has produced hundreds more. What RuPaul is to the Drag world, Armin is to the world of dance music.

While I have no desire to make my own music, I one day want to be as polished in something as Armin is in trance music. This concept parallels a theme I’ve talked about on here quite often, hence the phrase “master of one’s craft.” On a micro level, Armin knows how to arrange music for an album or show, and I’ve used that skill to arrange my music library into playlists that best represent my life and what’s important to me.

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Thanks Armin, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Will Truman & Karen Walker

Eric McCormack as Will Truman on “Will & Grace.” Courtesy photo

Who is Will Truman?

Will Truman is one of the titular characters on the sitcom, Will & Grace. Will is a lawyer, and best friend to Grace Adler, hence the title of the show. Will is often portrayed on the show as the most mature character in the group. Although he occasionally seems distant and aloof, He prefers to appear uninvolved in the problems of others, being hesitant to make himself vulnerable. However, there have been many times when Will has shown his sensitive side, often going to great lengths to protect those he loves. In one particularly salient instance, Will was willing to throw away his chances of becoming a senior partner at his law firm in order to take care of his then emotionally devestated boyfriend, Vince. Will often comes off as the strong one, not wanting to get sentimental or show his insecurities, but can’t help but show it when he gets his feelings hurt. For example, in one episode, having returned from a prolonged absence, Will fears that Jack has replaced him as Grace’s best friend. Will eventually admits his insecurity to Grace, who in turn reconfirms Will’s importance in her life.

Will is another one of the most iconic gay characters of all time. There’s a running joke between many gay men and their best female friends that “every Will needs his Grace” because of his friendship with Grace on the show.

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How does Will inspire me?

I see Will as professional, mature, and responsible. He embodies all the qualities in a man that I am striving to become. He is a successful lawyer, having worked for a major New York City firm. He is very knowledgeable about a wide variety of things, and in particular is able to care for all of his friends and provide them with what they need.

More broadly speaking, Will is the character who is really in control of the universe of the show. He is the one to pick up the messes that Grace gets herself into, and often reminding her about an easier or better way to do something. He is the one who financially takes care of Jack, and finds ways to get Jack to better himself in life. As Karen’s attorney, he handles her legal situations. Though hundreds of comedic sketches, he is essentially the stage manager for his friends.

On the other side of that coin, Will on a few occasions shows his vulnerable side. Just like how his friends rely on him to keep life stable, he relies on them to keep him stable. He vents to Grace about his relationship problems, Grace gives him advice on how to dress and how he should spend his time. Karen is practically half his paycheck, if not more. Jack has continuously given Will pointers on how to be a better gay man.

Will’s wardrobe is another piece of him that I’m trying to emulate. (Granted, this is more of a hat tip to the show’s costume designer!) The Tie Guy is showing me how I can do that.

While Brian is my sexual gay male role model, Will is the more professional gay male role model for me. Will is where I want to be a few more years down the road.

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Who is Karen Walker?

Karen is one of the two supporting characters in Will & Grace. She is Grace’s assistant, though she hardly does any actual work for Grace’s business. Karen is the most popular comical character on the show, with many of the show’s quotes coming from her.

With her staff and help, Karen is deliberately patronizing, referring to them solely by their title both in conversation and to their face: “Driver,” “Butler,” “Private Detective,” “Pharmacist,” “Back-Up Pharmacist,” et cetera, even when they are doing other jobs (“Cook sometimes cleans, Cleaner sometimes cooks, Driver sometimes provides an alibi…”). This rude tone is not limited to her employees, as she looks down on or openly mocks most people she meets, even her friends. Karen is often cruel to her staff at home, training them to run when she enters a room. Other times she chews them out, but somehow this comes across as an act of affection. When she talks to people she often calls them “honey”.

Sometimes Karen unintentionally reveals to her friends a softer side that is carefully hidden. In one such incident, Karen’s husband has a heart attack and may die. Karen discovers that her friends have placed a bet to see who can get her to cry first, so she elaborately punishes each of them by leading them on to think she might break down in their presence. In the end, she has an actual breakdown over the incident, which Grace stumbles in on and consoles her during. Another episode sees Karen and Jack in her mansion with her refusing to let him enter ‘the forbidden room’. When Jack finally gains access he discovers it is a nursery which Karen had prepared during a pregnancy scare in an earlier season. Although she agrees to change the room into a liquor storage room, she quickly changes her mind and the audience sees her stony facade crumble.

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How does Karen inspire me?

Karen is probably the most abstract and fictional character that I draw inspiration from. The most realistic thing about her that I directly relate to is her control over the things in her world. She knows how to manipulate (a Slytherin quality!), and get what she needs out of just about anyone.

What most people enjoy about Karen is her humor. Karen is funny. Karen is the most quoted character on the show, and even I try out some of her one liners in my own life from time to time, just like how I quote Sabrina. Like Bianca Del Rio, Karen epitomizes the kind of humor I prefer to use in my own life.

One of the running gags about Karen is her drinking. She’s even used the phrase, “I’d suck the alcohol out of a deodorant stick, so I’m the wrong girl to ask!” which hints at how much she really does drink. I can relate to nearly all of the drinking jokes Karen uses, and this is the root of why I refer to my own homes as bars, such as The L & BJ LoungeThe Blue Mountain Saloon, and The Tutti Frutti Cocktail Mansion. Karen is the type of person I see myself as when I do get drunk.

On a deeper level, I do fall into a category of person who is incredibly likely to have a drinking problem: gay, had a parent with an alcohol problem (though mine fixed his before I was born), high stress level, lower self esteem, and a few other factors. Because of this, I am very aware of how easy it would be to fall into that trap, and I monitor myself carefully just in case. Watching Karen control her alcohol (albeit in a humorous way) has helped me to control my own alcohol consumption.

Thank You, Will & Karen for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

Source for Will’s bio.

Source for Karen’s bio.