Finding Light Amongst the Darkness


Jonathan Van Ness, host of the hit series Gay of Thrones 


Last week I wrote about my friend who fell and suffered a concussion. Shortly after I published that post, he had two strokes. I just received word that he’s being taken off life support tonight, and I’m in complete shock. I’ve been close with this vibrant, loving, wonderful man for almost a decade. I’ve cared for his grandchildren and he frequently took care of my girls as well. To think of him gone is bizarre. It pisses me off. He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.

I was hoping a miracle would pull him through. I’ve witnessed a health miracle once before in my life. My Dad had a pulmonary embolism and according to his doctors, the blood clot should’ve killed him. When I went to visit my father at St. John’s Health Center, he was attached to various tubes and heavily sedated. I thought there was no way in hell he’d make it out of there alive. To my complete amazement, he pulled through that crisis and lived a couple more years.

So, ever since my friend’s fall, each day I’ve gotten out of bed fervently hoping for a similar miracle, yet filled with dread, wondering if I’d find out that he passed away.

Those of you who have read Birth of a New Brain for a while know that I ruminate on upsetting things more than most people. It has been essential to distract myself from my macabre thoughts with humor and fantasy whenever possible. It’s not so easy to do that, as simple as it sounds.

Have you ever heard of a show called Game of Thrones? 😉

Since its 2011 premiere, I was aware of the HBO series’ massive popularity. Even my favorite singer Neil Finn sings about the show in his catchy song Recluse on the Dizzy Heights album;  Finn’s reference piqued my interest more than anything else:

I make any excuse to stay home
But I can’t do that and I must come back
People that stay at home
Watching a Game of Thrones
And wondering what comes next
Well you can’t do that and you must come back

Recluse by Neil Finn

However, I never felt like taking the plunge to watch Game of Thrones until last week when I ordered the first Thrones disc via Netflix.  After ten minutes of Episode One, I was so grossed out that I screeched like an owl.  I wasn’t hooked, to say the least! I turned off my DVD player with a sigh. (Craig was hanging out with our girls in another room as Thrones ain’t exactly akin to The Wiggles!)


However, the next day I was mysteriously compelled to watch the rest of the Thrones episode. Weird! I watched the second episode…I wanted more. Like it or not, I was under the Thrones spell. Being impatient for Netflix to bring me yet more Thrones, I thought I might find the third episode for free online, so I Google-searched. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t require payment until this winsome fellow lit up my screen, and, my life:



I love JVN…and his hair!

Jonathan is the host of Funny or Die’s super-hit show Gay of Thrones in which he briefly recaps Game of Thrones episodes in his inimitable way. As I watched his first recap I laughed out loud so hard that everyone in the house scurried over to my room to make sure I was okay. My laughing uproariously ’round here is extremely rare, you see. Lucy barked so much that you’d think someone was robbing the house.

Please note: If you think you might be offended by any of the following, please skip the next clip: graphic violence, foul language, marijuana references, Game of Thrones spoilers, poking fun at the gay hairdressing world (but by an authentically gay hairdresser) and many other things I’m sure I’m forgetting to include. I know I’ll lose some followers by sharing my brand of humor, but to be honest, I’ve always loved bawdy, clever comedy. My predilection for the profane is actually a large part of who I am…when it hasn’t been blasted away by bipolar depression.  I’ve kept this aspect of myself under wraps, more or less, until now.

I was hesitant to share this post, but I gotta be me!



Jonathan’s recaps get better and more far out with each episode! He features hilarious clients/co-stars in his styling chair, some of whom actually appear on Game of Thrones. There’s even a brilliant Princess Bride-esque cameo by George R.R. Martin. Martin wrote the fantasy novels (A Song of Ice and Fire) that the Game of Thrones show is based upon.

Until the next Thrones season arrives, Jonathan is working on other projects apart from his full-time hair design. Today his new podcast Getting Curious will be launched on Maximum Fun about Sunni Shia relations.

Jonathan also collaborates with his friend and client Margaret Cho. You can listen to their podcast on Monsters of Talk hosted by Cho and Jim Short.

Jonathan’s YouTube channel show Gay of Everything premiered last week in which he discusses world events.

In a small-but-inspiring touch of synchronicity, Jonathan works at Sola  Salon Studios which is right near where my beloved Granny lived for many years.

I call that a Good Sign!



Now that I’ve got that out of my system…(well, for now, anyway!)

Other not-quite-so-exciting news: last week I surprised myself by taking a cold-turkey break from Twitter. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did! Today is day #7, and I don’t miss it very much. I was becoming too wrapped up in Twitter-land, a la Facebook, which some of you will recall I quit because I got unfriended twice in one week.

I didn’t have anything super-negative happen on Twitter, thank God, but I read a few tweets from a postpartum organization I followed & supported & genuinely liked very much. I  was frankly shocked they tweeted them for I found those characters offensive and disappointing. I questioned the organization about it, but they patronized me. My reaction to these unethical, hypocritical tweets told me it was time to take a break.

Despite icky tweets, etc. that are inevitable when using social media, Twitter holds a special place in my heart. I would love to return there in January, but only if I can keep my Twitter use & reactions to a low roar. 😉

Plus Jonathan VanNess is on it, so that’s a big plus: @thegayofthrones

I send each of you a big hug and hopes that you have a holiday (or non-holiday) that surpasses your expectations! (In a most excellent way!)



Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.



31 thoughts on “Finding Light Amongst the Darkness

  1. So sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend. But so glad you found Gay of Thrones. Looks hilarious! Since I’ve devoured all my Jane the Virgin episodes, I’ll watch some if these too. I think you and I should do a series ala Amy Poehler and Tuna Fey and put it on YouTube. That’d be fun! Love and hugs.

    • Thanks so much, lovely one! I keep seeing “Jane the Virgin” on Netflix; I must add it to my list! 🙂 You and I could be the singing Seroquel Sisters (even though I don’t take it anymore – although i was SO SO tempted to take 25 mg last night!!!!!) I guess we could be the Singing Lithium Sisters but it doesn’t have the same alliteration I love… 😉 We’d do a GREAT job, though! What do you say….after Pakistan, come to California & we could tape it???? ❤️💜💙💊👅

  2. Sending you love and deepest felt condolences. Grabbed the phone to call you, but decided to read the rest of your post and watch the two video clips (hilarious). Humor is a fabulous coping mechanism – especially as you are grieving. Will call now. Love you, Kitt

    • I popped on Twitter to thank you for the retweet of this post – that was sweet! 🙂 When you called me earlier today, I thought it was one of those creepy marketing organizations – no offense; my new smart phone isn’t programmed with my contacts yet.

      Thanks for your touching message – I’m saving it to listen to a few more times! That meant a lot to me!!!!! It’s not like you have enough going on in your world, so it meant more than anything to receive your encouragement and love.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the silly clips. My Mom, as expected, texted me and wrote that the humor didn’t float her boat, but it was okay – she didn’t freak out, so that was cool.

      I’m going to share here something written by the son of my friend of died on Monday. The son, who is also a good friend of ours, wrote about his dad on his Facebook page. I “sneaked” on Craig’s Facebook to check it out…

      I thought what Ken wrote was so beautiful. I shared it with Laura Droege and I want to share it with you too:

      “We are all shaken by this tragedy, but we can’t help but feel relieved that the time he was stuck in this terrible physical state was relatively short. During his lifetime, my father soaked up the good will, compassion and kindness from many people like yourselves, to the point that the love in his heart could no longer fit inside of one mortal body. And now that love will have the freedom to be shared boundlessly and eternally…”

    • Thanks my dear Van! I rented “This is Chris Farley” and watched it in one sitting last weekend. (Can you say “Netflix binge”??? 😉

      It was fascinating and of course very sad. I had no idea he had that many siblings, in particular his brother who is also a comedian and looks so much like Chris Farley. The directors talked to so many incredible comedians about Chris Farley and it was so interesting to listen to their various insights – and of course they showed our fave “Down by the River” motivational speaker clip and the REAL Matt Foley. I was shocked he’s a priest! ;

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by as always. I appreciate your support very much! ❤️🚐

  3. Oh love, I am so sorry for your loss. So sorry. These out-of-the-blue ones are the WORST!!! I am SO LUCKY that my Mom’s fall/concussion last month didn’t turn out worse than it did. I am sending you good thoughts / juju from Jeebus. HUGS!!!!!

    • Thanks, sweet fiery friend ‘o mine. Sorry I haven’t been able to comment at your last 2 posts – you know I’ll get there! I always do!

      OMG – I remember your Mom’s fall and that really freaked me out!!! Then Samina fell (of Bipolar1Blog) and my friend fell and got concussions within 24 hours.

      You inspired me to get “Yaktrax” PRO at Costco for my boots which I’ll use when I walk in the snow/ice.

      Last year I had several close calls when I fell on ice and I was totally ignorant about traction devices. I’ll let you know how these things fare next week when I go to Tahoe! XOXOXOXOXO Lots of love to you, my kindred spirit!!!!!!

    • Thank you so much, dear Laura. He truly was a special soul & as his son Ken wrote so beautifully in an email, “During his lifetime, my father soaked up the good will, compassion and kindness from many people like yourselves, to the point that the love in his heart could no longer fit inside of one mortal body. And now that love will have the freedom to be shared boundlessly and eternally…”

  4. I am so sorry about your friend, Dyane. It is a hard time of the year when people are suffering. My dad is doing poorly and we are going to Long Beach for what may be his last Christmas. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you and yours many holiday blessings. I look forward to crossing paths sometime next year!

    • Thank you so much, Martha! I hope your book launch was a wonderful experience!! I’m sorry I couldn’t get over there, but I thought of you that day. I’m extremely sorry about your father, and I hope that your time with him at Long Beach will be filled with love; I know it will be bittersweet, but I’m so glad you’ll be spending Christmas with him! Hope to see you next year and give you a hug in person! XO

  5. Enjoyed your blog and as usual I love your writing .Know that it must be so difficult to lose a dear friend and especially one who sounds so remarkable. You and your family are indeed fortunate to have known him.
    Regarding your memories of Dad you are quite right as to how he fought so bravely to survive until the very end.
    I must admit that I really am not acquainted with the THRONE sagas and am kept busy watching Downton Abbey and my beloved Doc Martin but as I approach 80 very soon I imagine our tastes differ a but not always. Keep on writing dear daughter. Looking forward to the publication of your book next year.

  6. Lady, oh my sorry once more for Nez, RIP. As for you, as my SscHero often urges, anything that works for you at the moment dear. Loads of all from my crew and I 🙂

    • Thanks lovely one!!!!!! You’re always there for me with a kind word, true understanding from the hearty, and general support, and all of that means a great deal to me!

    • Thanks my dear!!! Just read/commented at your blog and also at Our Lived Experience about anxiety as it’s something I’ve lived with for a long time. Thanks for writing about your most recent experience with it; I’m so sorry!!! :(((((((

    • Ha ha !!!! I miss you and Twitter too – I’ve already been back there a few times over the last 2 days…’s calling my name out!!! I have a feeling I’ll be back sooner rather than later! 😉

    • Thanks so much; at least he didn’t linger long and that’s a huge plus, isn’t it? And he was well-loved! No apologies ever needed – in my last post I didn’t just blog about him/death but mostly about my favorite new gay hairdresser’s crazy recaps of Game of Thrones. Take a looksee when you can if you’re up for it! He even makes LOTR references in some of his Thrones recaps! 😉 XoXo

    • Oh my God – I’m so out of it I thought you were commenting on your blog, not mine LOL! Exhausted today! Thank you for stopping by!!!

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