When Autumn came back from the NF Benefit in DC in July, she mentioned on the list that Kim Bischoff, the Director of Illinois Neurofibromatosis, Inc., had spoken to her and wondered if there was anyone from the OBSSE in the Chicago area who would be interested in volunteering for NF.
We got our feet wet pretty quickly, helping to coordinate local sales of the Entertainment books, stuffing thousands of envelopes with raffle tickets, and working on designs for Christmas cards and T-shirts. In a meeting with Kim Bischoff, the Director of Illinois NF Inc., and Gail Cooper, who founded the Illinois Chapter with her husband around 20 years ago, we talked excitedly about what more we could do to help out.
We took turns attending different sessions so that the tables never lacked staff. They opened up with a motivational speaker, Jay Platt, an amazing man who hiked the Appalachian Trail despite the fact that he has numerous cancerous tumors. After his speech, he autographed copies of his book, donating $5 per book sold to NF.
Dr. Joel Charrow, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Genetics, from Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, addressed the fundamental knowledge necessary to educate yourself about Neurofibromatosis, as well as the importance of attending multidisciplinary NF Clinics.
Cynthia Sullivan from the NF Clinic at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Gary Wright of Coyle-Varland Insurance Agency, Inc. taught us how to get services from an NF clinic covered by insurance, be it an HMO or a PPO.
We finished the day with encouraging information from Dr. Alcino J. Silva, Department of Neurobiology, Psychiatry & Psychology, UCLA Medical Center. He discussed the great developments his lab is experiencing in unlocking the key to understanding learning disabilities related to NF. Dr. Silva managed to make a difficult subject--scientific research on brain chemistry--very accessible, using simple language and some wonderful video clips of mice test subjects.
For the two weeks leading up to the seminar, a mantra we heard over and over was, "You have to meet Rosemary." And the morning of the seminar, in the midst of registration chaos, every new person we were introduced to asked, "Have you met Rosemary yet?"
They were, of course, speaking about Rosemary Anderson, Gillian Anderson's mother. Truth be told, I was a bit nervous about meeting her. I didn't want to be seen as some crazy fan who was volunteering for NF because I could get some kind of "in" with the family. We had explained to Kim and Gail at our first meeting that we wanted to do something for NF because we had so much to be thankful for. Being fans of Gillian Anderson has given us so many gifts of true friendships and wonderful experiences that we wanted very much to give her something back. But what can you give to a star? This opportunity seemed a perfect way to thank her for all that she has done for us.
Well, as it turned out, I didn't need to be nervous at all. Mrs. Anderson is a warm and charming woman, and she was gracious enough to take some time out to chat with us and to take some pictures, which she agreed we could share with all of you. She said that Gillian is aware of all the NF efforts around the country, and that she is just amazed by how the fan efforts have "spiraled."
The thing I took most to heart was when she said, "Now you've met people with NF. You'll see someone who has it and recognize it. And you'll be comfortable with it."
You can help, too. Check the NF web site: www.nfinc.org and see if there is chapter in your area that can use some of your time.
If there's nothing local, you might see if there is a group of volunteers, like our group in Chicago or the one in Minnesota, who would take you on as a long distance member. (Sisters Michele aka Griot in Indiana and Diane McDonald in Los Angeles are part of our group.) We have a mailing list at egroups--NF-Chicago@egroups.com--if you'd like to find our about our local activities.
You can also help out by taking part in NF fundraising activities, like buying an Entertainment book at GAWS. Our chapter is selling T-shirts ($15 ea., sizes M-4X) see the design in the blue column on the right and Christmas cards (boxes of 20 for $20) see above, which I designed. For more information on any of our NF activities, or to purchase shirts or cards, send me an email at email@example.com.
It's that time of year again, and Abbey tradition dictates that as the golden leaves of autumn begin to gently wind their way down to the harvested earth, the sisters and brothers of the OBSSE mailing list spend a quiet week in thoughful meditation before taking on the solemn and momentous responsibility of choosing the lineup for the next Scully Marathon.
As you can see by the tasteful ad campaigns sprinkled throughout this newsletter, we took our voting responsibilities very seriously and were not above hinting... asking... begging... threatening... and yes, PANDERING to ensure that our favorite episodes were part of the new lineup.
This year TV Guide held a little contest to create cheese recipes based on your favorite TV Show or character. In other words it was tailor made for the Abbey. Industrious sisters finding a way to combine two of the Abbey's favorite things created a few recipes. As the season premiere is almost upon us we thought this might be a good time to suggest a few OBSSE snacks.
EVILDOERS ARE HAPPY
Heat oil until very hot (360 degrees). Meanwhile, place pancake mix into a medium bowl. Mix beer, egg and 1/2 cup
For that extra Abbey flair, serve with lettuce, crackers
Mash everything up together in a 4-6 cup bowl and nuke it for 3-4 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. Stop every minute or so and stir to melt the cheese evenly. It should get hot enough that it just starts to bubble, but not hot enough to re-animate and try to leap out of the bowl. Keep an eye on it.
Serve with crudités (celery, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli) or a firm sourdough or Italian loaf bread torn into dipping size pieces.
MULDER'S EENIE MEANIE CHILI BEANIE CHRISTMAS CHEESE LOG (So, we're early...)
Grate cheese. With bare hands, mix all cheeses together with Worcestershire until a soft consistency is achieved. Shape into provocative oblongs. Roll in chili powder and then sunflower seeds until well-coated. Wrap in wax paper and chill in refrigerator overnight to set. Festively (yet suggestively) wrap and present to partner at 4 a.m. Christmas morning.
I don't know if any of you have heard, but there's going to be a new guy on The X-Files this season. His name is Doggett.
And he's a manly man. Oh yeah, a real blue-collar dude. A guy's guy. He wears Wranglers and Old Spice and lives in his pickup truck. He eats his Wheaties with Bud instead of milk. He don't cotton to no aliens, and he certainly don't cry over no missing sister. If he wanted to knock Scully up he wouldn't wait seven years to do it, he'd sling her over his shoulder, bring her back to said pickup truck, put on some Johnny Cash and get it on. Doesn't matter if her ova were removed by no Consortium or what have you <spit of tobackey>, she'd still be barefoot and pregnant in no time flat.
And we should all worship him. Starting now. And...go.
I don't want you to misunderstand me. This is not a rant about Doggett. From what I've read and heard I think the character has the potential to be a good one. OK, it's a cliché (an inevitable one, sigh) that in Mulder's absence the torch of believingness would be passed to Scully and the kneejerk-skeptic role would go to the new guy. (It's IRONY, you know.) They tried, awkwardly and annoyingly I might add, to do this with Spender. I'm still not thrilled about the idea with Doggett. (And then there's the name "Doggett." Groan.) But I am looking forward to seeing what happens when he's thrown into the mix. I dig Prickly, Defensive!Scully, I've always been a sucker for those "third-party POV" fics, and I do agree with the whole "shot in the arm" theory, which holds that shaking up the show will, at least in the short term, make it more interesting. Yeah, the addition of Doggett is OK with me. Bring it on.
Nor is it a rant about Robert Patrick. I've had occasion to read quite a few articles on Mr. Patrick over the last couple months or so, and he has made, overall, a very positive impression on me. It seems that he's aware he's walking into a hugely charged situation, certainly as far as the fans go, and that he's being very respectful of that -- but he also doesn't strike me as being a pushover; that is, he's not going "You're right, Mulder's a lot better, I suck. Hopefully I'll be killed soon. In the meantime, would you like an autographed picture? I'll pay you five bucks." I think it was an account of someone's set visit I was reading where he was asked if he felt guilty for having joined the show (or something), and he replied (HUGELY paraphrased, as this is not only from my unreliable memory but also, presumably, from the memory of whoever wrote the set report), "Why should I? I haven't done anything wrong. They hired me to work here and I said yes." Good for him. Mr. Patrick, you seem like a good egg and I look forward to "meeting" you on Nov. 5.
So, if it's not about either of those things, what, pray tell, is this rant about?
It's the Doggett-boosting PR machine. Wave those flags, everybody. WAVE THEM, I SAID!
I have a contrary streak in me, one that means the more I'm asked to do something the less I feel like doing it, and the more something is talked up to me the less inclined I am to try it. This is the same contrary streak that caused me to wait so long before watching The X-Files in the first place -- my friend told me so many times that I'd like it that I started to think I wouldn't. Still in the TV vein, it's also why I haven't gotten around to watching The Sopranos. I just haven't been able to bring myself to want to. (And don't say "But it really *is* a great -- " cause you'll just be setting your cause back. :P )
So being told OVER and OVER again, from all directions (the official site, magazine articles, website rehashes of magazine articles, interviews with everyone who works or has ever worked within three miles of the set) how FREAKING MAGNIFICENT Doggett is is making me more and more annoyed with him. "WHY DON'T YOU JUST MARRY HIM?" I frequently feel like yelling at Frank Spotnitz (for example).
I know that in some fan quarters the hysteria over the absence of Mulder is at an absolute fever pitch, and I assume there is a certain feeling of urgency up at Fox to say something to encourage them that all is not lost (lest they take their 18-to-49-nesses and their ad dollars and go busy themselves obsessing over someone else's TV show). I myself am very fond of the big lug, and am not happy he's gone (or partially gone), though I do understand that it's David Duchovny's choice and there's not a whole lot I can do about it at the moment.
But the ululating frenzies of Doggett-glorifying ecstasy that we're constantly being subjected to are starting to stir up those kneejerk feelings of contrariness. Not to be crude, but one of these days I practically expect to open up my morning paper (if I EVER did such a thing, which I don't -- OK, log on to my morning Yahoo! News then) and read a quote from Chris Carter saying, "Just WAIT til you see Doggett's testicles. They are GIGANTIC. What a sight to behold. Man alive."
Maybe it's the "heat" and "chemistry" talk that irks me the most. Though I know I hide it well (eyeroll), I'm a shipper, and I like the idea of Mulder and Scully together. That doesn't mean that WHATEVER two leads HAPPEN to be on the show AT THAT MOMENT, those are the two I want to see together. This isn't Days of Our Paranoid-Ass Lives. They insist they're NOT replacing Mulder, NOT dropping Doggett into the slot (heh-heh) left by his absence, but then they go and say stuff like that. It reminds me, in a way, of all those X-Files clones that came out right when our little show got popular. "Hey, if we have some conspiracy, and some alien stuff, and a chick and a dude who work together and make eyes at each other all the time, we'll have a MONSTER HIT." It doesn't work that way. It's an accident that it happened this time, and a big part of that accident was the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. For everyone to say, "And LUCKILY, Gillian and Robert have the EXACT SAME CHEMISTRY!" brings out my inner skeptical Scully, er, Doggett.
This is not to say that I'm sorry Gillian likes him or has chemistry with him or whatever. Hey, if she's got a lead who's easy to work with, great. Maybe this one will expend less energy trying to publicly distance himself from her. I just don't want it to be, "Look, Frankie, she likes him! Great, prepare the New Year's kissing episode." It's not like a new Darrin for crap's sake. All the talk about "respecting the history that Scully has with Mulder" encourages me. All the talk about "sparks" and "attraction" and "Hopefully everyone will be able to be open-minded and accept that it's now Doggett and Scully so we can continue to make unholy amounts of money for another eight seasons" does not.
At the moment I'm happy enough to have Doggett joining our little circle of obsession and madness. I think this year is going to be cool. But I'm still hoping the show ends next year, or that by some miracle Gillian Anderson is let off of her contract, because, bottom line, I want Mulder and Scully together. Mulder and Scully are The X-Files for me. Not Mulder. Not Scully. Mulder and Scully. Having Mulder gone for a story arc that will be resolved by the end of the season is one thing. Having him gone for good is something quite drastically different. I don't care if Scully and Doggett burn Los Angeles to the ground with their heat and chemistry, I don't care if Doggett is the bitchin'est mofo to grace our TV screens since Don Johnson, I don't care if Robert Patrick singlehandedly saved 101 adorable puppies from being made into fur coats and then donated his reward to rescue blind dolphins. I don't want Scully ENDING UP with Doggett, personally or professionally. And I don't care if Gillian Anderson hates David Duchovny with the fire of a thousand suns, and vice versa, and if they have to be on special harnesses, operated by production assistants, to keep them from charging each other while filming. They act terrifically together, damn it, and if they're not going to anymore then, I'm sorry, but I'm done.
So, yeah, 1013. Support your new guy, I'm all for that. Certainly I wouldn't want to see them going, "Yeah, he's OK, but, geez, he's no Duchovny. I think we'll all be glad when this jerk is out of here and our pal the Dukester is back." But some restraint would be appreciated. For instance, I have no immediate plans to wave my Special Agent John Doggett Fan Club flag. Will I wave one eventually? I absolutely might. But I'd like to actually meet the man first. And then I'll decide whether I like him or not. How's that sound?