Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrity Death Machine (originally posted on facebook 06/26/09)

No it's not a new Nine Inch Nails album, so don't get excited.

Judging by the 50 some-odd or more status updates from yesterday evening on, most people have gotten wind of the news of the demise of Michael Jackson, once known to the western world as 'The King of Pop', following on the heels of the news that Farrah Fawcett, actress and former pinup best known for being the most well known of a number of Charlie's Angels, succumbed to cancer.

And because these things come in three's, a day earlier we heard that Ed McMahon who was a long-time sidekick to Johnny Carson and also had the dubious distinction of being 'The Publishers Clearinghouse guy' (when Dick Clark wasn't being that guy) passed away from an number of health issues.

I'm left once again to question the morbid fascination we as a people seem to have with the lives and deaths of celebrities. I, for one, feel pretty much numb to it. I never knew these people, and while I can acknowledge the tragedy to some extent, my life goes on as normal.

I think it's the disproportionate level of grief society shows these people... some of whom seem famous for being famous, and may or may not have contributed much to their art in years, but happen to get caught up in the celebrity scandal machine. Immortality acheived through constant exposure.

On Ed McMahon.. well, he was 86. He had a long and full life with much success, so I don't think it's any sort of tragedy. I'm sure his family is sad, and I hope they get to grieve in peace. But I have a feeling that in the next few months, there will be at least one unauthorized biography with tales of a) sordid love affairs, both female and male, b) drug use c) pick your own. I hope not, though.

Farrah Fawcett, I honestly don't know what she has done for the last 30 years. except get married and look pretty. I'm told she's done some movies, some of which could be described as 'good' or even 'very good'. Again, it is tragic that she developed breast cancer at a young age, but I can't really fathom why her death is more tragic than any number of beautiful women (inside and out) and men who have been taken away by cancer.

I do think Michael Jackson's death is a tragedy, but not for the reasons by many. The general concensus is that we've lost this great musical icon.

I'm sorry folks, he was lost to us years ago, when he got caught up in the cogs of the gossip machines and the pressure became too much. Had it not been for his eccentricities, he may not remained in the spotlight as long as he did. Sadly, from another perspective, perhaps without the pressures of being constantly scrutinized by the media's eye, he may have continued to be the creative genius he once was, if a slightly eccentric one.

In my humble opinion, the tragedy lies with his children, who are already standing a good chance of growing up profoundly effed up. Now they've lost a parent, and my fear is that the youngest child, who I believe is only about 6 years old, is going to grow, and the few memories this child will have of his father will be tainted by 'wacko jacko' caricature painted by the media, including some of the uglier allegations. The older children will have clearer memories to counteract that picture but at the same time, it must be easier to deal with the media picture if there is an actual person there to compare. The self-doubt and questioning these children stand potentially go through is mind-boggling.

I sincerely hope the media leaves these poor children alone, and that they are allowed to go on with life and fade into obscurity. I think we all know that's not going to happen.

If I've pissed off or offended anyone, my sincere apologies. Just utilizing a public forum, is all.

This dream's a party and everyone is invited...

I'm at some sort of outdoor reunion/fest thing, and I'm in a small boat with an older, rather robust gentleman, and Joel from work. Joel's trying like hell get the motor started and I'm contemplating the weight restrictions on our craft, figuring that between the three of us, it's gotta be holding about 600 lbs. The water is almost up the top of the boat. People are cheering us on. I'm about to suggest that one of us get out and go on the next trip, when the motor starts, and we start to chug around the small lake. Relaxing, I stretch out across the bench on which I sit, which causes the boat to shift about an inch further into the water and the motor conks out, having been drowned. I get up, and the large old man is gone, but I decide it's probably best to skip the boat ride anyway.

So I'm at what seems to be a family reunion of sorts. It's outdoors, in a rather large venue somewhere in the Bancroft area. Tarps and tents are set up, as well as some vendors, so it kind of looks like a concert, but there's no band anywhere.

Out of boredom I decide to check out the vendors, which basically seems like a small convenience store. I circle the place, with an intense craving for a chocolate bar, namely a butterfinger, but there are none to be found. However, each time I circle, the wares change ever so slightly, and I notice something new that wasn't there on the first go-round. So I keep circling. After about 5 rounds I notice a magazine rack and a number of trinkets hanging off the side. I'm distinctly disturbed by the lack of comic books.. the selection is an odd combination of fashion magazines and psychology texts, so along with my chocolate craving, now I'm determined to find a comic to read. As I keep circling, the candies go from your run of the mill convenience store products to more exotic, imported fare.

I eventually realize that the sun is setting and people are packing up to go home. Michelle's stepdaughter Dominique comes up and asks me if I can give her a ride to Bendale. I say sure, not having any idea where Bendale is. I whisper to my mom and dad 'Hey, where is Bendale, I told Dominique I'd give her a ride there'. Their eyes widen, and they tell me it's about 2 hours north of where we are. So I ask Dad how I'd get home from there and he hesitates and says 'well, you can take 141 over to the 400...'

'Oh' I say, now realizing what I've signed on for, but not wanting to back out after saying I would. My auntie Lyn mentions 'Oh yeah Bendale's a little Christian town', which seems like a bit of a non-sequitor. I look pleadingly at my parents but they have to drive Lyn home and mom mentions doubling-back to pick up Kansas.

So I pile into the car with the girls and we start driving. It's fully dark now and we're driving through a small town with railroads and covered bridges. For some reason I decide to call my Dad telepathically and ask 'Hey, isn't Bendale the name of the school you went to as a kid?'

I'm looking for directions in what appears to be a journal belonging to Jovita, kind of flipping through the pages looking for a map, but all I'm finding are several entries and letters which look interesting enough but are not what I need at that point in time.

I decide to stop at a hotel for the night. For some reason, I haven't noticed that Dominique is gone and it's just me and my girls now. I end up sharing a small room with two beds with the older woman that lived on the ground floor of my building who was always walking her friend's dog. I should really learn people's names. She seems to be having a difficult time getting into her bed, but I hesitate to offer assistance, in case I come across as patronizing.

The girls and I go to explore the hotel/motel whatever it is. Outside I see a large dock, and at the end, someone has erected a swing set, with the front supports reaching right down into the water. I say to the girls 'Wouldn't that be fun to jump off?' then I notice that there is a thin layer of ice over the lake, and mist is hanging in the air.

Going to turn back, the section of the dock that we walked out on has disappeared and we're on a sort of floating raft... we have to walk across the exceptionally thin ice to get back to the building. I figure I can swim back (hypothermia is a concept that apparently doesn't exist in this world) but what about the girls? I call across the water to Anthony (although I call him by a different name, can't remember what) to grab Tierney's arm, so that if she falls through the ice one or the other of us can haul her out. The ice does break and I reassure Tierney as she starts to panic that the water is not deep. She is able to thrash her way over to the shore.

When I go to send Reagan over, I call over again but Anthony's gone. Looking out I realize that the ice on the lake has turned into laminate flooring.

Then I woke up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Consideration Blues - a rant

In the past 36 hours I've dealt with two situations that bothered me to no end, for this reason:  excessive rudeness from total strangers in situations where I was trying to be considerate.  In at least one situation, I reacted badly, and thus continued the cycle of negativity.

Where is the love, people?

Scenario one:  I'm at Edgefest this saturday, and I'm a little peckish, so I go to get a hotdog.  Now, being that this is an outdoor concert at a large venue, I'm fully prepared for the prospect of paying stupid-high prices for something as simple as a hot dog.  So I'm only a little surprised when I ask the hot dog vendor the price and he says 'five bucks'.  However, at the time he was handing another customer a sausage and said 'Sausage'.  I was not sure if he had misunderstood me, so to clarify I say "That's five for a hot dog, right?"

This guy, looks me straight in the eye with a death stare and says "Did I stutter?"  I'm absolutely taken aback. 

I'll admit, my response was not-so-eloquent.  I put my wallet back in my pocket, gave him the finger and told him to fuck himself.  But really, I'm already paying five bucks for a hot dog, I don't need a side of attitude.

Scenario Two:  I'm driving through Victoria Harbour, on the way home from my parents place, and there's a ... hrm... gentleman on a bike riding along the road. He has a number of cleaning supplies strapped across his bike, so it's basically like following a large letter "T".  I'm going to need more space than normal to pass this guy.  However, I'm travelling up Albert street, approaching the crest of the hill, where there's only a three-way stop (the opposing traffic has no stop sign) and I can't see what is coming in the opposite direction, due to the steepness of the hill.  So I decide to stay behind the cycler, until I have a safe place to pass, as like I mentioned, he's fairly far out on the road, and he's got all this stuff strapped to his bike.

Before we hit the stop sign, however, he pulls onto the curb, so I have room to pass.  Because my windows are open, I wave and yell 'Thanks' as I pass to the guy for letting me pass.  However, he's also yelling something, that is not terribly discernible, I'm 90% sure contained the word fuck.

Pardon me, sir, for not wanting to hit either you or an oncoming car.  If I ruined your day by NOT whizzing by you and knocking you off your bike or sending you careening into a ditch, please accept my sincerest apologies.

Seriously, what is wrong with people?

Oh and to add to this, today while on the Livechat at work, a guy from Pakistan told me to fuck off when I said "I'm sorry sir, I don't understand the question."