My Inspirations: The Doctor And Clara Oswald

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Who is The Doctor?

The Doctor is the title character of the long-running series, Doctor Who. The character is a Timelord from Gallifrey, who ran away with a machine that travels in all of time and space called the TARDIS (short for Time And Relative Dimension In Space), and who often travels with a companion or two.

Being a timelord, the Doctor lives for many hundreds of years, and instead of dying he “regenerates” into a new body and new personality. The show’s creators wrote this fact in when the first actor to play the Doctor became gravely ill and they wanted to keep the show going. To date, 13 different actors have played the role, with twelve having numbers and one non-numbered doctor being retroactively inserted into the series’ chronology in 2013.

Each Doctor has his own personality, tastes, interests, sense of style and decoration, and is unique. Most people know the different doctors by their number, which represents which incarnation of the Doctor they are. Because of this, a common question in the Who fandom is:

Which Doctor is “my Doctor?”

My answer to this involves two different Doctors, Ten and Eleven.

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Just above this paragraph are my two doctors. Ten on the left, Eleven on the right. Ten is technically “my Doctor” because he’s the one I would want to travel with and learn from. He’s got the perfect balance between biting edge and soft understanding of others that really spoke to me when I first saw his part of the series. Both Ten and Eleven have copious amounts of charisma, but Ten has an air of responsibility about him that draws me to want to learn from him.

Eleven is just as charismatic in his own way, but more playful, more relaxed. He doesn’t seem to get as angry as Ten did (and nowhere near as much as Nine or Twelve seemed to), and he’s the Doctor that I see myself emulating.

What About The Doctor Inspires Me?

The Doctor, as a character is very wise and worldly, always traveling and always learning new things. This is even though he has the ability to see all of creation running through his own head as a timelord. He’s a hero to many, having saved countless numbers of planets and species throughout his millennium of lives. His charisma allows any number of different beings to be drawn to him and open up to him. Instead of being afraid of the unknown (which is the natural human instinct), he’s fascinated by it, and seeks it out as often as he possibly can.

All of these personal elements are something I want to strive for. I want to go out and see more of the world. I like being “the shoulder to cry on” or the person people can rely on. At a former job, a manager told me that she believes in “always learning, always growing” which is something I’ve taken with me, and I feel that’s reflected in the Doctor.

My cross country move taught me to look at the world in different ways. By watching the Doctor, I’m seeing that this can be a whole way of life.

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Who is Clara Oswald?

Clara Oswald was a companion of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors. (This part of the post is a follow up from Rose, a companion of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor)

Clara stepped into the Doctor’s life and changed him for the better. Spoiler alert; she also saves the Doctor’s life at one point. Clara is a clever school teacher who is very curious about the universe, and puts forth passion and energy into the her time with the Doctor (much like the other companions do), though her way of organizing the world around her is much like my own.

How Does Clara Inspire Me?

The episode that showcases the parts of Clara that I strive to emulate (in addition to the Doctor I try to emulate) is from the seventh series, The Bells Of St. John. It’s where Clara meets the Doctor for the first time, and he meets her for the third (time travelers have a funny life that way!)

Clara shows that she’s very savvy to technology – being the one to tap into several computer databases to help save the day, and she understands how to use them. Going forward she shows technological abilities that few other companions have shown to have while traveling with the Doctor. Many people in my personal circle seem to think that I have tech abilities, and while I admit that I do have some (I do own lukascondie.com after all!), I’m not a professional at it, mostly because I don’t have a full understanding of programming languages.

Clara is also resourceful, which is a Slytherin quality that I’m proud of. She knows when and what questions to ask, and how to find information or things she needs to save the world or get the job done. At one point, she posed as the Doctor when the real Doctor was incapacitated and she tried to save the world herself.

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Clara has been through heartbreak as well, and it changed the way she looks at life. Clara is how I see myself as a “single man” traveling the world, equally how I strive to emulate Eleven.

Thank you, Doctor and Clara for being inspirations!

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.

My Inspirations: The Tie Guy

Who is The Tie Guy?

The Tie Guy is a gentleman who runs a Tumblr blog about menswear and men’s fashion. He also runs an Instagram and a Twitter, but his Tumblr is the most active. His primary website can be found here.

I don’t have an actual biography of The Tie Guy, but in my mind he is a mens fashionista. The advice he gives on his Tumblr is what I would expect to hear out of the mouth of Tim Gunn or Bob Mackie.

The Tie Guy is always on top of how to dress with style. He’s not about having “the hottest men’s fashion” per se, but rather using what you have to work best for you. Followers regularly post fashion questions to him and he gives his personal opinion, often with visual demonstrations.

How did I discover The Tie Guy?

Earlier in 2014 I made a conscious choice to get more out of my Tumblr experience and find things on that network that matter to me and hold my interest. Before I went to college for the first time, I had little to no interest in having a fashion and style standard. I was a simple jeans and a t-shirt type of guy. As I spent some time seeing more of the world beyond my childhood bedroom, I started noticing that I was dressing like a teenager, and it was time to start looking more like my own age. It was also time to start developing a look that I could feel confident wearing. Nice clothes weren’t just about job interviews, they were meant to be a part of everyday life.

My sartorial journey began with GQ magazine, and branched out into Details magazine. From there, I got advice from someone who worked in a clothing store. This led to getting my copy of The Details Men’s Style Manual, which gave me a true baseline to start looking at clothes and how to wear them properly.

I hit a flatline as I dropped out of school and needed to stablise myself. Working in a restaurant where nice clothes were part of the uniform helped re-ignite my interest in looking more like an adult again.

While browsing on Tumblr, one of the suggestions was The Tie Guy’s blog. I really liked what I was seeing, and put his Tumblr into my RSS reader, so I wouldn’t miss a single post.

How does The Tie Guy inspire me?

Over the course of several months of watching all the different style pictures on his blog, I started to piece together what I wanted to look like, and what types of sartorial would work best for me. I continue to use the Style Manual as a compliment to The Tie Guy’s blog, and lately he’s been showing off his own fashion choices (and face!) more often.

The Tie Guy has been instrumental in helping me evolve my own sense of style and how to use it. My next step is to start investing in good clothes and wearing them regularly, breaking all of my old habits. I’ve started with the local Van Huesen store, and plan to branch out once I have a baseline wardrobe. I’m grateful that my current job allows me to play with higher fashion and let me learn more.

Just like how Cecil has no actual description, and Kinsey will never be officially portrayed by an actress, I have a mental picture of what The Tie Guy looks like in my head. Johannes Huebel is considered one of the most stylish men in the world, and in my mind, that’s who I see when I think of The Tie Guy, though as of mid-2015 he regularly posts photos of himself.

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What has The Tie Guy taught me?

My re-ignited interest in fashion was solidified because of my interest in RuPaul’s Drag Race. Of course, Drag Race had a women’s fashion element to it, but I was particularly inspired by the fashion choices of two of the winners of the show – Raja and Violet Chachki. Both of their styles were particularly powerful and often jaw dropping on the runway, and I want to one day be like that, but in men’s clothing.

The (no longer being updated) website Drag official has a wonderful article on what is “drag.”

That being said, I do not define “my drag” by it’s traditional definition: men wearing women’s clothing. I consider the high quality menswear displayed by not only The Tie Guy, but the other menswear blogs to be what I define as “my drag.” Like how Drag Queens portray a character and “aspire to be that character” (i.e. Chad Michaels is a Cher impersonator), the images of what the The Tie Guy presents, is what I am working on eventually trying to emulate. I show this by adding the tag “my drag” to each of my sartorial re-blogs on Tumblr. A feed for that can be found here.

For example, a traditional Drag Queen could make a post about a new pair of heels they found or saw online and loved.

I consider the above to be beautiful shoes and wish I had them for myself.

By buying and wearing what I consider to be “my drag” I plan to love myself through what I wear, and gain confidence in myself. Basically, The Tie Guy is the evolution on what Latrice Royale taught me. On the professional side, I’ll be dressing for the job I want, not the job I have. On the personal side, I plan to eventually dress to show my love and respect for myself, and not just as a simple way to cover my body.

Even beyond menswear, there’s plenty of grooming advice that I’ve tried out and learned from. This Buzzfeed list has become the base that I am working myself up to, and The Tie Guy’s sartorial advice fits with it perfectly. While Don and Charlie have given me a baseline for how a gentleman should act, The Tie Guy shows me how a gentleman should look, even down to how he should smell.

Thank you, Tie Guy, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Elle Woods & Kate Spencer

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Who is Elle Woods?

Elle is the main character in the movie, Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde is one of two movies that I turn to in my difficult times because no matter what, these movies always cheer me up and make me happy.

Elle is an attractive blonde sorority girl from California. After her long term relationship ends because her boyfriend decides he wants a girl who is “more serious” and “less blonde” she set out to go to Harvard Law School to win him back.

Although she comes off as little more than the stereotypical “Paris Hilton” knockoff, it’s shown that even before she went to Harvard she demonstrates a strong intellect, even if much of it is related to fashion and merchandising. She knows down to the little details – such as the difference between brand name toilet paper and generic toilet paper, and a tiny detail about perms is what wins her the biggest case in the movie.

Over the course of the movie (which was originally a book!), Elle matures and expands herself out of her own comfort zone. In doing this, she saves the reputation and lives of people who she cares about. She encourages the nail stylist Paulette to get the courage to connect with the guy she’s attracted to. Elle shows the girl who becomes her best friend that first impressions aren’t always accurate, and Elle learns to believe in herself, no matter what.

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The biggest piece of Elle that I takeaway is that Elle spends the movie making the best of herself. She goes from sorority president to fully established lawyer. In the process she learns about what’s important to her, and fights to defend it.

Like Elle as she starts her journey at Harvard, I have often felt that I was the “newbie.” I had two growth spurts at my first college (one in theater and one in Business), but both eventually fizzled out. I plan to take CCV and UVM by storm, much like how Elle did to Harvard by the end.

Elle is very well versed in the things that she is passionate about. I can say the same thing for myself – many times I’ve given technology coaching, relationships talk, and gone on about TV shows I love with all my heart. Even this blog has turned into a discussion about people I’m passionate about.

Elle is the kind of person I am striving to be in my present time.

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Who is Kate Spencer?

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Kate is one of the main characters in the movie John Tucker Must DieJohn Tucker Must Die is the second movie I turn to in difficult times.

Kate starts off as a wallflower, who travels from town to town her entire life because her mother is constantly cycling through relationships with different men.

She is brought into the center of the action when it’s exposed that John Tucker is dating three different girls and they all discover each other. While in detention, Kate talks to them and and they unite together to destroy John’s reputation.

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How does Kate inspire me?

John Tucker is the second movie that I always turn to as a comfort. I was first drawn to the movie because of Jesse Metcalfe, who was my first celebrity crush after coming out. As I transitioned to Parkside, I felt exactly like Kate during my first few weeks – invisible and “the new kid.”

Over the course of the movie, Kate develops a friendship with the three girls who unite to destroy John, and she grows into her own person. By the end of the movie she’s no longer an unknown and has the confidence to be herself for the first time. She also learns quite a bit about what it means to be in a relationship, since she has to fake being in one with John for half the movie. Kate also stands up and becomes a leader in the process.

Because Jesse Metcalfe was my first celebrity crush, and much of my exposure to him was through this movie, Kate’s journey in the movie helped me gain confidence in myself after having come out. I identify with Kate’s sense of isolation at the movie’s start, and just like how Kate matures over the story, I feel myself maturing more as I take on more challenges, such as going back to school.

From a different perspective, Kate has a few things she’s shown me about dating by demonstrating what not to do. Kate’s relationship with John was fake, whereas Sakura/Rose and Sabrina have real relationships to learn from. I have learned about things not to do with/to others by seeing Kate trick John in the film. I have often wondered what Dan Savage would have said to the four girls if they would have called him for advice on John.

Thanks Elle & Kate, for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Sabrina Spellman

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Who is Sabrina Spellman?

Sabrina Spellman is the titular character in the series Sabrina The Teenage Witch. For the context of this post, I’m referring to Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal of the character on the live-action sitcom.

Sabrina discovers that she is a “half-witch” through her father who is a pure witch who married Sabrina’s mortal mother, but left her after Sabrina was born. The TV series starts on the day Sabrina discovers this, which happens to be her sixteenth birthday. The series takes her through high school and college, and through living on her own and ending with her marriage.

During each episode Sabrina learns something about her magical powers, about the relationships she has with friends and family, how she handles romantic relationships, and how that all fits together in her life.

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(Source for the following)

Sabrina is typically a very out-going, amiable, and genuinely caring person. She looks out and stands up for her friends Jenny and Valerie whenever the cheerleaders, particulararly Libby, would insult or be condecending towards them, while simultaneously taking slurs and insults herself.

One of Sabrina’s most prominent personailty traits is her quick wit. She’s a playful smart aleck and seems to always have a clever pun or funny comeback up her sleeve. Some of which get her into more trouble then she’s already in.

She is, for the most part, very level-headed and clever although some of her ideas when it comes to using magic often land her in trouble, which often leads her to panic in some cases.

Sabrina is very socially aware and will often speak out against unfair treatment of injustices against those around her. Her often bubbly personality can occasionally be annoying to some around her, which she realizes when Valerie begins turning into her exact duplicate in the third season and when both Roxie and her cynical boss Annie comment on her consistent cheeriness. She has also been characterized as a complete busybody at frequent times, having a habit of butting into the lives of those around her.

Sabrina’s two catchphrases throughout the entire run of the show are “Woo-hoo!” and “Gotta go!” She gets made fun of a few times because of her constant use of these phrases.

She is a very loyal friend and for the most part, is liked by those around her. She has a very good relationship with both her fellow-students, friends, and many of her teachers such as Mrs. Quick and Mr. Pool. However, because of her magical nature and resulting odd behavior, she is often scrutinized by some, such as Libby and Mr. Kraft. However at the end of the day, Sabrina is a down-to-earth, caring, passionate individual who only wants to do what’s right.

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How did I discover Sabrina Spellman?

I discovered Sabrina when I was in middle school and the TV show aired just after the shows I would watch right after school. One day when it came on, I decided to give it a chance and was hooked instantly. The series ended on TV just as I was starting to embark on my own journey to adulthood like Sabrina does throughout the course of the series.

How does Sabrina inspire me?

Sabrina represents the kind of person who I want to be to others. Being bubbly and caring (like Sakura) are two things I feel people tend to see in me first. I’ve emulated Sabrina in multiple aspects throughout the course of my life. In high school, I hid the fact that I am gay just like how Sabrina is constantly having to hide the fact that she’s a witch.

In college and beyond, I used Sabrina’s interactions and relationships with her friends and family as a measuring stick for how I should interact with the people in my life. She cares deeply about others, and does everything in her power to help out wherever she can in her friend’s lives. For the longest time, I had a busybody trait very similar to hers.

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In addition to emulating her personality, I frequently use one of her two famous catchphrases regularly. “Woo-hoo!” is typically my positive reaction to things offline.

Sabrina discovers over the course of the series that she was meant to be a journalist. It starts with her working at her high school paper, becoming editor, going into journalism as a major in college, and finally getting a job in the field. Sabrina was the first person/character to spark my interest in the journalism field, which has since evolved a great deal since the show first aired.

After Sabrina started my interest, it grew through my passion and interest in social media, matured through years of loyally reading my RSS feed, and was sharpened by a friend of mine going into the field professionally. I also had some journalism inspiration in watching The David Pakman Show. As I transitioned to Vermont, going into the journalism field has been my primary motivation for going back to school.

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Over the course of the series, Sabrina has three long term relationships. Each one brings Sabrina different experiences and helps her grow more as a person until she finally discovers who she is meant to spend the rest of her life and fall in love with. Sabrina is my third role model for relationships, in addition to Sakura and Rose.

Two quotes from the series finale have particularly stuck with me:

  • “Love doesn’t have any guarantees.”
  • “Never think that ‘almost’ is good enough for you.”

Both of these quotes have shaped how I feel about romance and relationships. As someone who is constantly striving for perfection, I’ve made the mental mistake of expecting guarantees from falling in love.

The other quote is my reasoning for holding myself to a high standard in relationships. I’ve seen what happened to  Sabrina when she was going to settle for “almost” and I never want to do that myself. For that reason, I’ve been crafting a list of exactly what I’m looking for.

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Whenever I re-watch the series, I still find myself trying to “be” the Sabrina on the final season in the series. The song, “Running” by No Doubt was used as the final song in the show, and I plan to use it in my own wedding someday.

Thank you Sabrina, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Henry Drummond

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Who is Henry Drummond?

Henry Drummond is one of the two main characters in the stage play, Inherit The Wind. Drummond is the fictional version of the real lawyer Clarence Darrow. Inherit The Wind is the dramatized version of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” that took place in 1925. Darrow/Drummond represented a teacher who was fired for teaching evolution in a public school, which was against the law at the time.

Drummond starts out as a considered “villain” of the play – being an atheist/agnostic in a predominantly Christian town, fighting for the right to teach evolution, which was referred to by the citizens as “eviloution.” As he shows how down-to-earth he is, he gains the respect of the town and manages to restore the dignity of the teacher who was humiliated and practically tortured at the beginning of the show.

Drummond is also very intellectual. He raises deep questions about the Bible and religion in general, many of which have inspired discussions all over the world about what faith means to many people.

“Lady, when you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight.”

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How did I discover Drummond?

I first came to know Drummond in my freshman year of high school, when my english class read Inherit The Wind during class, with each student getting a different part to read. My teacher thought I would be best as Drummond, and thus in reading the part, my inspiration began.

How does Drummond inspire me?

I was raised a Methodist Christian, of which I shed any connection to in 2006 after I left for college. Drummond is a self-identified agnostic, but he has a working knowledge of the Bible – he had to use it as the only way to prove that evolution exists at one point in the show. This shows that even though Drummond doesn’t have the belief and/or faith in the stories of the book, he still can learn from it and shows that the Bible itself can be used for good. The title of the play comes from the specific Bible verse Drummond quotes at the end of the show, and his rival, Brady, quotes towards the beginning of the show:

Proverbs 11:29 KJV: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since I first read it to my classmates over a decade ago. Drummond uses this verse to demonstrate why the characters that turned against their own families and friends suffered great losses during the show.

Quoting from CliffNotes:

Lawrence and Lee (the play’s authors) used Proverb 11:29 in two other instances in the play. In Act II, Scene 1, Reverend Brown gives a fire-and-brimstone sermon at a prayer meeting held on the courthouse lawn. He becomes overzealous in condemning Cates, and when his daughter asks him to stop, he asks for retribution for her also. Brady intervenes because he is concerned he will lose the support of the townspeople. The advice he gives to Reverend Brown is the wisdom of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs, “He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind.” Brown has caused trouble in his own house by condemning his daughter and will, ultimately, “inherit the wind,” when Rachel leaves him.

The second time Lawrence and Lee use Proverb 11:29 is in Act III. Hornbeck comments that when Brady recited Proverb 11:29 to Reverend Brown, he was in fact ” . . . delivering his own obituary.” Brady “inherited the wind”: He died as a result of his actions. He made a mistake believing he was infallible.

The community members cause trouble for themselves because they create a circus-like atmosphere during the trial and in so doing, draw worldwide attention to their narrow-minded views. They “inherited the wind” because, like the townspeople of Dayton after the Scopes trial, their reputation remained that of the stereotypical “ignorant Southern town.”

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Drummond was my first exposure to thoughts and beliefs outside of the Christian Church. He was the first person/character I met that was not-Christian identified, and he had me wondering what it was like. While I was never abused in my original church, my first pastor was very aggressive and strict. When I was in eighth grade, that pastor and I had a very heated disagreement, and ever since that day I’ve had a distrust of religion. Reading about various other crimes committed by people in the name of Christianity made me further question the very concept of it.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe all Christians are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Just like how I was told that the devil “perverts” things and makes them bad, I feel that there are many people out there “perverting” the concept of Christianity.

My point with all of this, is that Drummond was the spark that led to my skepticism. While I was at Parkside, I discovered Unitarian Universalism, a faith and belief system that I feel is right for me. Drummond raises questions about life, and I do the same.

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Drummond stands up for what he felt was the right thing, and that’s a value that I’ve had engrained in me since I was first taught about it by the Power Rangers.

Drummond also taught me the famous phrase, “All that glitters is not gold” in this scene:

On a much grander scale, Inherit The Wind was the play that led to my interest in theater. By reading it in english class, I went on to get involved with my high school drama club, which led to being a theater major at Parkside, which led to my work at Sunset Playhouse. To this day, being the Stage Manager for Inherit The Wind at Sunset Playhouse is one of my proudest accomplishments.

“I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.”

Thanks Drummond, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Lupin & Slughorn

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Who is Remus Lupin?

Remus Lupin is a character in the Harry Potter book series. Lupin first appeared in the third book of the series, and was a supporting character until the end of the final book.

(Source for Lupin’s bio here.)

Remus was compassionate, intelligent, calm, tolerant, levelheaded, brave, kind, and good-natured. To much of the world, he seemed rather shy and drawn-in. Despite having suffered a great deal of prejudice in his life due to his lycanthropy, he managed to retain an ability to see the good in almost everybody and was extremely forgiving. He also had an excellent sense of humour, and when he was a student at school, was one of the Marauders. However, unlike his friends, he never partook in bullying. He hence could be described as the most mature, responsible one of the group. He even became a prefect in his fifth year. Also, unlike his friends, he was able to, or at least would try to maintain civil conversation with those he did not get along well with, a notable example being Snape.

Remus was unusually perceptive, with an uncanny ability to guess the thoughts of those around him. This is especially clear in his conversations with Harry, such as his intuiting that Harry was afraid that he thought he couldn’t handle working with the boggart. He was a gifted teacher, with a rare flair for his subject and a profound understanding of his pupils. He was, as ever, drawn to the underdog, and Neville Longbottom especially benefitted from his wisdom and encouragement.

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How does Lupin inspire me?

I was told a few years back that I remind people of a real-life Lupin. I have strived to emulate all of the qualities described of Lupin above. I try to be the good-natured, non-judgemenal friend to anyone I encounter. Just like how Lupin is described as the mature, responsible member of his group of friends, I’ve been told the same thing by my own friends on more than one occasion. The bottom line is that I can very easily relate to Lupin.

Lupin is often misunderstood, being that he is a werewolf. For various reasons, I feel the same way. On a daily basis at work, I’m often commenting “This is why I don’t make jokes – when I do, no one gets them!” I’ve been ostracized for being gay, for being an introvert, for having knowledge about BDSM, and for various other subjects. I see these traits and knowledge as interesting and it makes up a part of who I am, but I can also understand that these can be scary subjects to others. In turn, I empathize with other’s strange qualities as well, and always try to offer a safe place for friends and acquaintances to vent to about their weirdness.

Lupin, like the character Dumbledore, is very forgiving of others, and tends to give others the benefit of the doubt. Like what’s mentioned above, I have a tendency to see only the good in others and ignore their faults, weaknesses, or bad points.

I see Lupin as the kind of adult I want to become a few more years down the road.

Who is Horace Slughorn?

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(My source for Horace Slughorn’s bio is here.)

Horace Slughorn was described as having a bumbling, jovial sort of personality. He was rather vain and quite fond of food, especially crystallised pineapple. Despite being a relatively good-natured person, he only had eyes for people who he thought had talent, would go far in life, and thus give him helpful connections and be able to influence or gain benefits from them. Thus, while he invited other students to his “Slug Club,” he had a tendency to rudely ignore people like Ronald Weasley because he didn’t view them as important, talented, or famous enough to warrant his attention.

Slughorn generally displayed the more positive traits of Slytherin, such as ambition. He never wished to be famous himself; instead, he preferred to help others become famous, which, if successful, gained him influence and/or benefits from them, such as being able to recommend the next junior member of the Goblin Liaison Office, free Quidditch tickets or a box of his favourite crystallised pineapple.

Slughorn’s personality, in many ways, contradicted the “evil Slytherin” stereotype held by many students of the other Houses, Gryffindors in particular. He wasn’t a bad person, and didn’t seem to hold any real prejudice against Muggle-born witches and wizards.

Despite his ambition, Slughorn knew where to draw his personal boundaries. His tendency to ally himself with powerful, talented, and important people never blinded him to his moral values, and thus, he was never tempted to join forces with Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

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How does Slughorn inspire me?

I identify myself as primarily a Slytherin, and Slughorn represents the kind of Slytherin I feel I am. Slytherns are ambitious, passionate, and at the end of the day make great managers because they are resourceful to the end. Slughorn is all of those, plus he’s an incredible networker. He knows how to make connections, and further connect the people around him. This is something I strive for regularly. My most common example is directing people to my friend Bridget’s blog.

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Slughorn is very laid back. He is also a forgiving man, one who is always collecting things, and always learning. Ravenclaws learn for the sake of learning, but Slytherins will learn something so they can use it to forward their own ambitions, which is exactly what Slughorn does and what I do. Slughorn collects his fans much like how I try to collect twitter/tumblr followers.

Both of these men are professors at Hogwarts School. They have developed their craft well enough to teach it to others. I see myself doing that over the course of my life – perfecting my own skills and then eventually passing them on to people I mentor later in life.

Thank you, Remus Lupin and Horace Slughorn for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Latrice Royale

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Who is Latrice Royale?

Latrice’s Royale is a Drag Queen who was on the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Latrice placed fourth in the show, but was the queen that nabbed my attention during that season. Latrice has been in the industry for over two decades, and knows her craft well. Latrice has faced many challenges over the course of her life off the show, including hitting rock bottom an being in prison while her mother passed away, which she admitted to onscreen. Latrice is known for several quotes that she has said on the show. My favorites include:

  • “Five G’s please : Good God Get A Grip Girl.”

  • “BITCH: Being In Total Control of Herself”

  • “She is large and in charge, chunky, yet funky. Bold and Beautiful.”

  • “No T no shade.”

  • “I want people to realize, that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and Make Them Eat It!”

  • “Jesus is a biscuit! Let him sop you up!”

Latrice was invited back to the show to compete in All Stars, after earning the title of “Miss Congeniality” for season four. During All Stars, Latrice was paired with Manilla Luzon.

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What about Latrice inspires me?

Latrice has taught me several things over the course of my being a fan. First and foremost (as the above GIF hints), Latrice has taught me how to handle my body image. Latrice never showed anger at herself for being a larger person. Latrice never complained about her weight, never shot herself down (unlike some other bigger contestants), and was thought of as “the big girl who got the farthest.” I’ve used the line, “large and in charge, chunky yet funky” to describe myself when I’m feeling down. Latrice knows how to model dresses and gowns on her size, and showcased this on the runway on several occasions. Each time, it was more about being proud of her looks rather than trying to cover them up. Slowly but surely, I’ve been trying to think of myself the same way. Dress to enhance, not to cover up. Latrice is living proof of the famous RuPaul quote, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love anyone else?”

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Another big quote that Latrice lived and breathed is “I want people to realize, that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fall down. Get up, look sickening, and Make Them Eat It!” Latrice hit rock bottom a few years before she went on TV. I was in a similar place back in 2010-2011. I didn’t go to prison and lose my mother, like Latrice did, but I did make some very serious mistakes that have had lasting consequences. Latrice picked herself back up, her community had a fundraiser to get her back on her feet and then Drag Race rocketed her back into the limelight and to a much better place. When I hit my rock bottom, I started the first job that stabilized my life. From there I started growing as a person again, and got back on my own feet. Once I was back up, I grew the strength to pick up my things and move across the country and start a new life in Vermont. Now I’m in a better place and on track to go back and finish college, which I’ve long considered one of my biggest mistakes.

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In watching Latrice love herself, I have come to start accepting myself for the way I look. I’ve considered my weight to be another biggest life mistake, but I’m starting to turn that around and look at it as an asset. What helps is seeing the gay men’s community starting to appreciate guys with a little extra as well, instead of constantly talking about men who look like they walked out of a fitness magazine. Here and here are two articles that really gave me a good psychological boost recently. Here is a gallery of bigger men who know how to showcase themselves. This article in particular was very encouraging.

Cross-referencing the HP fandom, this piece is a great discussion on how to address body image with a HP twist.

As I re-watch season four of Drag Race (and All Stars), I continue to use Latrice as my source for liking myself more and more.

Thanks Latrice, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie